I wouldn’t normally say this about my mother, much less in front of her, as she would either: a) be insulted by the use of the word “gangster” to describe her, even if it is in slang form and very loosely used; or b) kind of confused and probably insulted still too that any one of her seven children would find humor in the hard work and back aching process it takes to slave away making tamales for all of us to enjoy on special occasions. My mother sometimes takes requests as to what kind of tamales everyone wants before she even starts to soak the elote leaves or prepare the masa. There are the chicken tamales, the pork ones, the ground beef ones, the cheese only tamales, the cheese and jalapeño strips, and even as of late the corn only tamales.
Those corn only ones are pretty versatile as side dishes to all kinds of other main courses. Think fajitas of beef, chicken and sausage with corn only tamales on the side, covered generously with a hefty serving of guacamole, pico de gallo and molcajete made salsa.
¡Mmmm… se me hace agua la boca! But I digress. My personal favorite are the cheese and jalapeño strip tamales. They are especially tasty one day after originally being cooked in what we mexicanos like to refer to as the recalentada. If you don’t know about the recalentada my suggestion to you is that you find out about it as soon as possible, preferably from a mexicano of course. It’s basically reheating all of the delicious fixings from the major feast you just had more than likely a day or two ago, since we can’t ever seem to measure appropriate serving estimates for our gatherings or fiestas, and making a major feast out of that. My own jefita always cooks up a storm when we are all coming over for any occasion.
She can send us all home with bags of food and still have leftovers for herself the entire week!
Anyway, back during the Christmas break at the end of last year, my má was making tamales. She had recruited the help of my sisters and anyone else able-bodied enough to spread masa across elote leaves with a spoon who just so happened to walk in her home at that precise moment, and of course had already stocked up on all of the different ingredients she would need to make everyone’s favorite kinds of tamales. I, of course, happened to show up after all the tamales were done and refrigerated. She would cook them the next day so that they would be fresh for all of us to enjoy. This year, I promise my intention was to help. It just didn’t work out that way… LOL!
Bueno, pues I thought it would be funny to gloat a little to my one sister who lives out of town and who was not going to be able to join us for our holiday meal this year. If memory serves me correctly, I took a picture of the tamales and sent her a text message with the message “we’re about to pig out on mom’s tamales.” I thought it was bien clever, albeit a bit mean too, lo reconozco – we’re like that with each other sometimes. Pero el que se quedo boqueabierto fui yo. Very nonchalantly and cool her response was simply “oh, we already ate the tamales my momma sent me!”
I couldn’t believe it! Days earlier, before any of us had even begun thinking about what we were going to eat at mom’s house, my mother had made a special batch of tamales for my sister and mailed them to her! Via the US postal service.
¡D-A-Y-U-M, Mamá is Gangsta!
That’s all I could think. I think I text my sister that. I know I told everyone of my brothers and sisters in the room just that.
I still think mamá is gangsta for doing that!
What wouldn’t a madrecita do for her children?