dusk near Cuernavaca

dusk near Cuernavaca

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Morning for Tamales

As in the United States, the Mexican government likes to juggle around holidays to create three day weekends.  This past Monday was the legal observance of Constitution Day, which actually is February 5th.  (I really don't know why they couldn't have left Constitution Day alone this year since the 5th falls on a Friday.)

February 2nd in the Catholic Church is the feast day of La Candelaria (Candlemas in English), which commemorates the presentation of the baby Jesus in the Temple and which is the official end of the Christmas season.  Figures of the Christ child are elaborately dressed and taken to church to be blessed.  It is also traditional to eat tamales on La Candelaria.

Alejandro did not have to work on Constitution Day,  so we went out for breakfast and did our eating of tamales a day early.   Within walking distance of the apartment, in the neighborhood of Roma Norte, is a little restaurant called Los Tamales de la Roma.

Tamales are made with a wide variety of fillings, both savory and sweet.  In the highlands of central Mexico the tamales are wrapped in corn husks, while in more tropical regions, such as Oaxaca and Chiapas, they are wrapped in banana leaves.

Alejandro ordered "atole", a flavored, corn beverage to drink.  I'm not a big fan of "atole", so I ordered Mexican hot chocolate.   We each ordered three tamales.  They come out tied up like little packages in their wrappings of corn husks or banana leaves.  One of my tamales was filled with strips of chile peppers and cheese.  Another was filled with chicken and Oaxacan "mole".  My favorite of the three was a "tamal chiapaneco"... typical of the southern state of Chiapas.  It was filled with chicken in "mole" sauce, plums, almonds and hard-boiled eggs.

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