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Cooking Tamales

by Tom Johnson on Nov 27, 2011 •
categories: family

For most of my life I have not enjoyed cooking. I'm not entirely sure why. About 8 years ago, when we lived in the Bronx, I went through a brief stint of making pies on Sundays. It didn't last very long, and then I went dark for years, cooking only the simplest foods that I could cook in the smallest amount of time.

About a week ago, things started to change. I first noticed that I had an insatiable appetite for chili. I'd never really liked chili before, and then all of a sudden I can't get enough of it. Next I started enjoying jalapenos. I started putting them on hamburgers at the work cafeteria. The other night I finally bought my own bottle of jalapenos and added little jalapeno slices to chicken nuggets.

I've also had a craving for Mexican food. I told Shannon we should eat Mexican food every night of the week. This was a little too aggressive, though. We decided that I will now cook twice a week (Sundays and Wednesdays), and on those nights we will have Mexican food.

I should have gradually ramped up the Mexican menu, but today I cooked tamales. Here's a great youtube video from allrecipes showing the process:

I thought that when I would unwrap the tamale from the steamed corn husk, it would just fall apart and be mush. But it actually held together and tasted right. It tasted like a real tamale.

The kids liked them too. I wish I could have added jalapenos in the filling, but I didn't have an easy way to mark the hot ones.

For my Wednesday meal, I am planning to cook chili, I think. Or I may save that for a Sunday cooking event. Anyway, I'm cooking again. It's actually somewhat fun. Callie is especially helpful in the kitchen. She puts on her apron and wants to help. She unloaded the dishwasher, loaded it, seeded a pomegranate, helped soak the corn husks, mashed the tamale dough and lined the corn husks with it, and even set the table. She earned four fuzzies for this (she probably would have done it anyway).

Shannon likes the idea of me cooking. She says that she will now get Wednesdays and Sundays off (although I'm still constantly asking her kitchen questions).

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer / API doc specialist based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.