Thursday, February 4, 2010

keeping traditions

keeping traditions...

In my attempt to make sure my kids understand their background I'm kind of going through a history lesson myself. I have a vague memory of Dia de la Candelaria, Candlemas, a religious holiday in Mexico celebrated Feb. 2. (I had to go online to figure out how to translate it, hehe.) The online sites say this marks the end to the Christmas season. Who would not want to celebrate that long! haha! Living in the US I tend to not observe the different religious holidays I grew up with. First I don't remember much about them except the fun stuff, but now I will have to talk to family members and get all the details to be able to explain why we celebrate certain things. It's kind of hard when no one else around you celebrates the same things and you don't have family to share it with. My family lives in California so the distance makes is hard to be with them. This year we kept our decorations up until after Jan. 6th, Dia de los Reyes Magos, when the three wise men (kings) visit Jesus in the manger, so it's when the wise men are added to the manger scene. It's a time to eat and spend time with family. Traditionally a figure of baby Jesus is dressed in finery and taken to church to be blessed along with candles. I don't remember the significance of the candles and I will have to ask my aunts when I next talk to them. I do not have a figuring, but the food, YES! I was able to make. The timing was bad because I'm at work most of the day so they were not ready until 9pm. Even though I had started the day before, usually I have the whole day to make them and I the schedule I had didn't work out to well, oh well we have next year. Also one particular ingredient was hard to find, lard! The grocery stores do not carry it anymore...haha! I found some because I had to use lard they just do not taste the same and since it's just for special occasions I thought what the heck! Healthy nuts are probably having heart palpitations now...hehe! I took a couple of pictures although they don't look that great.

I would include a recipe but I had to tweak it along the way, so I will have to make them a couple more times and see if I can get a fairly good amount. I think I got about 30-40, had some masa left over and didn't make all the meat. Still a work in progress.

Pork in the sauce.

The finished filling.

The finished tamales after they have been steamed. They were so tender when they were done...yummy! I have some left and those I'm going to fry (in oil, not lard). Crispy on the outside tender on the inside...mmmmm!

Karla, Brenda & Pia look what you missed...hehe! (Actually I would have loved the help).

Atole or champarrudo is the traditional drink and I had every intention of making champurrado but I was so tired and I had a couple of questions to ask dad about it, I did not make it. But I will make it this weekend because the weather forcast is calling for colder weather, more snow. Both drinks are basically the same, made from the masa cornmeal, except the champurrado has chocolate added to it. I personally have not had the chocolate version although my sister says it is better.I never like the regular version, kind of bitter and no flavor.

I took some tamales to work and was surprised that a lot of people have not had them or knew what they were!?!?!? (Confused, I thought everyone had heard of tamales...heehee!) I got a kick out of my friend Janet who asked me if they were healthy, yes except for the lard I used to soften the masa.