Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Review by Ariadna Sánchez

Happy Holidays! Christmas is a time to celebrate with family and friends surrounded by the spirit of love, peace and happiness. Christmas is an occasion filled with hope, good wishes and delicious food.

Today’s book is Tamalitos written by the award winning Salvadoran poet and writer Jorge Telt Argueta and illustrated by Domi. To read the poems in this book is a succulent experience. Reading Tamalitos today could turn your Christmas evening into a delicious family moment. Argueta’s delightful poems are an invitation to embrace the importance of traditions with a tasty approach. Each poem guides the young reader to get involved in the art of making a unique and appetizing tamal.

Tamales first appeared in the early 7000 B.C. in Pre-Columbian history when the Aztec women served as cooks for the armies during battles. There was a need to have a more portable yet sustainable food and the tamales could be made ahead of time, packed and warmed as needed.

Tamales have changed in size, color, shape, and filling, depending on the location and the resources available. The wrappings varied from cornhusks, to soft tree bark, to edible leaves, such as those from avocados and bananas.  tamalis mainly composed of masa (hominy flour dough) spread on a corn shuck and filled with either chicken, pork, beef, green chile, cheese, or, more recently, vegetables.

The preparation of tamales is time and labor consuming. The tamale making process takes almost all day and preparations often start one or two days prior. Some families associated the tamales with the Christmas holidays and some other special occasions. 

Today, the influence of the tamales has expanded beyond the Latino community and is loved by all cultures. If you or your family is having tamales for dinner, hopefully you will appreciate not only the time and effort that went into making them, but also the history behind it.

¡Feliz Navidad! Reading gives you wings. Read this mouthwatering book today.

1 comment:

Norma Cantu said...

I would also recommend, Tamales, Comadres and the meaning of civilization by Ellen Riojas Clark and Carmen Tafolla.