Last year, my sister Lynn introduced me to the wonders of homemade tamales. She worked at a Mexican deli in her teenage years and and discovered she had latent tamale making abilities. She has graciously begun to pass on this knowledge to her sisters.
Last year, the tamales came off without a hitch.
This year, not so much.
We began well, with a trip to the Local Latino market for a bag of pork meat and some corn husks.
The middle part went fine, with Lynn and I filling the husks with masa and the now cooked and seasoned pork.
The end was where it got tricky.
The tamales must be steamed.
The tamales must be watched and the water levels checked frequently.
That’s a problem.
All heck broke loose when Lynn and I discovered the water had dried up, and the pan was smoking for all it was worth! Lynn yanked the tamales off of the oven and I scooted the pan off of the burner, presumably to have a better look and add water.
A fireball ( I don’t believe I’m exaggerating here) shot up out of the pan! I realized, and Lynn did too, that this was a grease fire, from the tamales dripping into the now scorching hot, dry pan.
Baking Soda! Lynn yelled.
Where? I yelled back.
Fridge! She yelled.
I yanked open the fridge and was stymied by the jam-packed display of Thanksgiving leftovers before me.
Fire’s out! Lynn yelled.
I slammed the fridge shut and whirled back to the stove and a thick wall of smoke.
The next few minutes included me tossing Tim out of the back door onto the deck to keep him out of the smoke and the melee, teen girls running frantically through the house with fans and teen boys running ahead of them opening windows. Lynn and I were assessing pot damage, directing kid traffic, giving grandma updates, and hoping against hope that the tamales could somehow be saved.
After about 10-20 minutes, most of the smoke was cleared out, the smell had been febreezed into submission, Tim was led back into the house, and the tamales were back on the stove.
45 minutes later, tamales were served…..warily.
THEY WERE FREAKING AWESOME!
I believe it was a Thanksgiving miracle.
And made for a funny Story:)
Thank you Lord, for a fabulous dinner and a funny family memory:)