Have You Ever Tried a Tamale?

Quck answer

A tamale is a traditional Mexican dish made of masa (a dough made from corn) that is filled with various ingredients such as meat, cheese, or vegetables. The masa is wrapped in a corn husk and steamed until cooked. Tamales are often enjoyed during special occasions or holidays such as Christmas. They are popular in many Latin American countries and have even gained popularity in the United States. Tamales can be savory or sweet, and they are typically eaten by hand. If you haven’t tried a tamale yet, it’s a delicious and unique culinary experience worth exploring.


Ancient warriors and hunters from the Mayan and Aztec civilizations relied on them as a delicious and portable meal. They can be easily found throughout the Mississippi Delta area. They have also become a popular Christmas tradition in many parts of the world. What are we talking about? The tamale, of course!

The main component of a tamale is a doughy filling made from masa, a special type of ground corn flour. The masa dough is spread on a covering, which is usually a corn husk, banana leaf, or plantain leaf. It is then filled with various other ingredients.

During the final stage of the cooking process, the tamale is either steamed or baked until the dough becomes firm. This allows the tamale to be easily unwrapped and eaten on the go.

Historians believe that tamales date back approximately 9,000 years and have their origins in South America, Latin America, and Mexico. Due to their portability, tamales were favored by the ancient Aztec and Mayan hunters and warriors.

The earliest tamales were likely unfilled and eaten in a similar way to bread. As time went on, basic fillings such as beans and squash were added.

After the arrival of Europeans in the New World, a variety of fillings became popular, including beef, pork, chicken, capers, and olives. Nowadays, tamales are often filled with different types of meat, cheese, peppers, and sauces.

As Latin American culture has spread worldwide, tamales have gained popularity in many regions. For instance, in the United States, tamales are highly popular in the Mississippi Delta area and Louisiana.

Historians speculate that tamales may have been introduced to African-American communities in those areas by Mexican laborers during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Others believe that they may have crossed the border even earlier during the Mexican-American War.

Making tamales can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive process, as there are many different ingredients to prepare (masa, meats, and sauces) and various steps that need to be repeated (wrapping and steaming). This is why many families gather for a tamale-making party known as a tamalada.

In fact, many families now include a tamalada as part of special occasions, especially during Christmas. It is a great way to bring together many family members to enjoy each other’s company while making dozens of tamales. For many people, the tamale tradition is just as much about the process of making them as it is about eating them.

Give It a Try

Are you ready to try some tamales? Make sure to check out the following activities with a friend or family member:

  • Ask an adult friend or family member to accompany you on a field trip in search of authentic tamales. Depending on your location, this search may be either very simple or slightly challenging. If there are no restaurants nearby that specialize in tamales, you could try looking for Mexican restaurants that may offer tamales as a special dish. Best of luck, and enjoy those tasty tamales when you find them!
  • Are you interested in cooking? If so, we have a recipe for you to experiment with! Go online to learn how to make genuine homemade tamales. You’ll probably need to make a trip to the store to gather a few ingredients. Make sure to seek assistance from an adult. Have a great time and relish your delicious tamales!
  • Feeling up for a challenge? Create your own unique recipe that has never been attempted before. It could be a variation of a tamale with different types of meat or other ingredients. You could even invent a new type of burrito by combining ingredients from another cuisine (how about pepperoni, pizza sauce, and cheese?). Your imagination and culinary skills are the only limits. We hope you concoct a scrumptious treat that your friends and family members will adore!

Interesting Sources

  • http://www.theaustintimes.com/2010/01/the-history-behind-tamales/
  • https://medium.com/@GenRobitaille/tamales-a-brief-history-48c480f5f1d4
  • https://www.thespruce.com/all-about-tamales-3029232

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