An Englishman Reviews the Whole Christmas Tamale Thing
Apparently you guys celebrate Christmas by eating tamales.
Gavin Cleaver These are "tam-a-les"
No, me neither. I've no idea what you're doing. What screams Christmas about a tamale? I suppose you could take this reductionist argument to any Christmas food (what's Christmassy about slaughtering a turkey and then roasting it, or, as some people are apparently wont to do, deep-frying it), but a tamale? It's like a corn dog wrapped in a leaf, only less flavorsome.
The obligatory "Gavin struggles to order food" section first - upon being informed I could obtain the most authentic tamales from a gas station (I have no words) I proceeded to that renowned center of culinary excellence, a Conoco on 121 in Lewisville. I was greeted by an entire side of a gas station devoted to cheap Mexican food, with three windows I could potentially order from. I ordered six pork tamales, and six tamales I could not understand the contents of, and was too stricken with embarrassment to enquire further.
Upon finally acquiring the tamales (served across what I assumed to be the taco desk, despite ordering them at the presumed tamale window) and hurrying back to my car, lest there was some further sequence of accepted events in this fandango I was not privy to, I took the short trip home and presented my family with what appeared to be twelve corn sausages wrapped in leaves.
Gavin Cleaver Tamales: Nature's most un-photographable food
How their hearts fell. I had promised a feast, and delivered only confusion. By this point, however, I can demand they eat things for the sake of City of Ate, and so they gingerly took two tamales (I had lost track of which was pork and what was an unknown filling by this juncture) each and retired to the sofa, bemused and lost.
Their moods did not lift upon sampling the Mexican delicacy. While obviously not sharing in the Christmas spirit contained inherently within a tamale, they complained that they tasted of nothing, were difficult to eat, and smelled weird. Sour cream and hot sauce did not raise their opinion, and the majority of the tamales went uneaten, left sitting on the table, unable to fulfill their Christmas destiny.
Myself? I found them unremarkable, like working your way through a lot of unseasoned corn in the hope of discovering some tasty meat. Perhaps tamales are a metaphor for the holiday season versus the rest of the year, the time off work being the spicy pork and the drudgery of the unrelenting months of identical weeks the corn. I can't tell. I can see, however, that you could get into a rhythm eating these things, and that as a platform for sour cream, they are perfectly acceptable. I shall not be seeking them out again, but neither shall I reject them off-hand. In summary - meh.
Meh-ry Christmas everybody.