The past few years, my family has made homemade tamales for New Year’s Eve or Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, they are delicious; but my favorite part of tamale season is the craft involved in creating them, and then enjoying them together around the big family table. My mom always tries to make everything a little bit healthier, so she doesn’t use lard and uses as many whole, unprocessed ingredients as possible. I think that is a big feat in any cooking, especially when it comes to traditional Mexican dishes (the idea of lard grosses me out, but I know it gives so many of my favorite taqueria dishes that rich, comforting quality we all love about Mexican food). These tamales, though, didn’t lack in flavor or comfort, I tell you.
We ate them on a quiet New Year’s Eve evening at home, on a day that ended up being one of my favorite days in a long time. My brother (who is visiting from Florida for the first time in a couple of years and just returned from Afghanistan), my sister (who moved home from D.C. a few months ago) and I lounged in pajamas on my mom’s couches watching classic scary movies all day long while mom baked banana cream pie and chocolate chunk sea salt cookies and chimed in on the movie during the scary scenes. I wore fuzzy socks. I drank cups of coffee with whipped cream on top. I doodles new-beginning goals. I may have dozed off. It was great.
Eventually, we scooped ourselves off the couch cushions and moved to the kitchen table, where we all benefited from my mom’s effort to baby my little (6-foot-2) brother. “I’m spoiling my little boy,” she admitted with absolutely no shame. Works for us.
I hope you had a lovely New Year’s Eve!P.S. My mom makes the best refried beans and Spanish rice. Really. And here we are, our feet up and totally getting into Stephen King’s “Rose Red;”Happy new year, friends. I do have many plans and goals, and I’ll share some of them very soon. What are you goals for this year?