The day after the early birthday celebration for Alejandro's nephew Ezra, we went to another smaller family gathering. It was the birthday of one of Aunt Araceli's adult grandsons. Although there was no birthday cake nor the singing of "Las Mañanitas", there was one traditional aspect of a birthday celebration observed... eating tamales.
When Alejandro and I arrived, his aunt already had an enormous steamer full of savory tamales on the stove.
Meanwhile, Silvia, Araceli's daughter and the mother of the birthday boy Felipe, was preparing the sweet tamales. Felipe had already done the hardest part, the mixing of batter. Silvia was spooning the batter into dry corn husks. She would then add a dollop of cream cheese and of blackberry jam.
The corn husks were neatly wrapped up around the batter and placed into a steamer. Before putting in the tamales, several coins are placed in the bottom of the steamer. That way, they know when the water is boiling because the coins clink against the steamer rack. If the clinking stops, they know that more water has to be added. The rack is lined with more corn husks, and the tamales are neatly arranged.
The tamales are steamed for over an hour. They were delicious. There were two kinds of savory tamales... chicken with green sauce and "rajas" (strips of poblano peppers). I had three savory tamales and a sweet one. As I said in an earlier post, you never leave Araceli's house hungry!