Homemade tamales aren’t just a tasty addition to the holiday table. For many families on both sides of the Texas/Mexico border, they’re a tradition that brings loved ones together to share stories, enjoy some laughs and pass the culture from one generation to the next. At Food Town, we’re big believers that the best tamales in Houston are the ones made with the family. We’ve pulled together some of our favorite tips for those coming together to make homemade tamales this season.
Get Everyone Involved
Although it can be easy to leave the work to those who are seasoned pros at making homemade tamales, don’t forget about the little guys. Tamale-making gatherings are a fantastic opportunity to let the younger generation try their hand at something your family has been doing for years. Let children be part of every aspect of the evening, from mixing ingredients, to spreading masa and finding that just-right fold for the corn husks. Sure, it might mean that not every tamale will be Instagram perfect, but the experience will make it all worth it. (If you have extra space, you might encourage children and teens to bring their friends along, too, to spread an even deeper understanding of the tradition!)
Make it About More than Tamales
Your homemade tamales should be the star of the evening, but why let the fun end there? Incorporating time for other activities can help keep children from getting too antsy, and can also be a great way to connect with friends and family members you might not see very often. A white elephant gift exchange or round of Lotería can get everyone interacting and having fun, while a holiday-themed movie is a great way to kick back and relax after a long day of cooking. Of course, it’s a great idea to have festive music or movies playing while you’re hard at work, too!
Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New
For many families, the homemade tamales made around the holidays come from recipes passed down from one generation to the next. While you’ll definitely want to keep those treasured recipes in your rotation, you can also introduce new flavors to the mix. If you’re inviting a friend or family member who doesn’t typically attend your gatherings, ask them to bring a recipe of their own! Or, do a bit of sleuthing online to find new and exciting flavors. (Our Pinterest board has some great ideas!) Who knows? You might just find a new family favorite!
Whatever ingredients you choose or activities you incorporate, when you’re making homemade tamales with friends and family, it’s sure to make for a memorable night. (Remember, you can find all the ingredients you need at our Houston grocery stores.) Wishing you the happiest of holidays from our Food Town family!
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