Cinco De Mayo For Mom

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Come in!  I think you’ll enjoy this unusual tea.

A friend recently gave me homemade tamales.  Along with the traditional pork, chicken, and beef, she included delicious pineapple tamales for dessert.  On the West Coast, it seems that everyone loves these treats, and I especially appreciate the work that goes into them.   So, I had to share this unique flavor.  With Mother’s Day approaching, how better to give my guests some local favor and honor the moms amongst us?

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Many people make tamales at Christmastime and present them as gifts to friends and neighbors.  Tamales consist of three parts:  the filling (usually meat, but sometimes raisins for dessert), masa (dough), and corn husks.  The dough, made with corn flour, is wrapped around the filling and baked in husks.  Families often craft them in an assembly line fashion with multiple members participating.

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I’m a gringo and that rare breed, a native Californian.   My first experience with this wonderful ethnic food came as a child.  Neighbors presented us with dozens of tamales, including the raisin-filled dessert variety, as a Christmas gift.  My mother warmed them in the oven, per the given instructions, and served them for dinner.  I’m not sure how it happened, maybe because I was the youngest in a large family and no one paid me much attention, but I ended up eating them with the husks on!  I didn’t know to remove the corn husks first.

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Years later, I returned to California for my first real job.  The holidays came around and people began discussing tamales.  I made the statement, “I like tamales, but eating those husks is just too hard.”  Needless to say, stunned coworkers responded with, “W-H-A-T?”  I reiterated my remark and received an education on how to eat tamales, amid whoops of laughter.

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When my friend delivered the pineapple variety, something completely new to me, I was thrilled.  I’ve added some whipped cream and sliced strawberries to spruce up the plates and brewed a mild pineapple tropical tea to enjoy with these south of the border indulgences.   I’ve thrown some Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass on the CD player to remind me of my youth and add to the fun atmosphere.

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  • Choose a color palette that will enhance your theme.
  • Flowers always add a fresh and lovely touch, especially when your table is scant.
  • When going an unorthodox route, choose a tea that compliments the food.
  • Remember to include music in your tea party. Don’t forget this important element when setting a mood!

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Happy Mother’s Day, Happy Cinco De Mayo, and don’t forget to remove the husks!
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