As you probably know, Jacob and I make lots of Mexican Food each New Year. It's a tradition. We make the food from scratch and write about the prep work and the outcome.
Tamales are a New Year's Day standard for us. So are great tacos -- chicken, beef, and pork. So is a big pot of hearty chili.
Thinking about our 2010 Mexican Food Feast, Jacob asked me a question. "Remember pinatas when you were a little kid?"
I laughed out loud and said, "Remember, Jacob... as little kid, I grew up in Kansas. I didn't know a real Mexican person until I was in high school. Even then, I only met three."
When people ask why and how I moved from Kansas to New York City when I was just hitting my late teen years, I remind them about the wonders of diversity. Finding a more liberal environment. Learning from the larger universe of multi-cultural teachers. And, now I'll tell them the about Jacob's totally innocent question.
The question that brought it all home.
2010 is a New Year. Try exploring the world beyond your comfortable boundaries, your usual boundaries. Learn.
At the end of every year--just before January rings in, Jacob and I make tamales. Dozens of them. Pans of them. And, we build them from scratch using the basic ingredients. We love to eat them and we share them with our friends. Making tamales is a wonderful way to spend time together. They are the perfect New Year's Eve (& Day) food. [Below 1: Our tamales wrapped and tied; not yet steamed.]
Dried corn husks are necessary. So are a couple of pork roasts, a very large chicken, a decent-sized piece of beef, also. Masa Harina, lard (or shortning), and homemade chicken stock. Lots of spices and fresh cilantro are needed. And a day or two to slow-cook the meats, put everything together, and steam the little packages.
I just read online today that Tamales are to Fast Food as a Saddle Horse is to Mass Transit... Very, very slow. Yep, that's about right. [Below 2, A few cooked, steaming hot and ready to eat.]
[Below 3: And, a peek inside.]
A couple of plates of these beauties with some Piper-Heidsieck and... Yes indeed, the New Year is off to one delicious start. Cheers!