Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year's Memories

Some of my favorite memories of New Year's past are the ones I spent with my friend Denise (the friend I have been searching for) and her family. Mom and I would make the 60 mile trip to their home a few days prior to January 1st because we wanted to be there to help in the preparations for the big day. The tradition, as I remember it, was started in her mom's family many years befor. After my dad's passing in 1966 my mom and I began spending our New Years holidays with Denise's family, became involved in their tradition and helped to carry it on year after year . For 2 or 3 days prior to New Years day we (all of us gals) would take over the kitchen and dinning area to make homemade Tamales...hundereds of them!

Everything was made from scratch using an old family recipe. The dining room table would be covered with corn husks waiting to be filled. The air filled with the delicious aroma of spices used in the preperation. Batch after batch of the meat stuffing was lovingly prepared, spooned onto the husks, rolled, tied, boiled, cooled and bagged...some to be placed in the freezer, others refrigerated. Finally on New Years Eve everyone (and there was almost always a crowd there) would get their first taste of that year's batch along with other delicious Mexican dishes...all homemade. On New Years Day amidst parades and football bowl games on TV, we ate Tamales...for breakfast, lunch and dinner...and entertained a seemingly endless parade of visitors...all of which left with at least one package of frozen Tamales for future consumption.

Every year at New Years now, as my family eats the traditionally southern Blackeyed Peas and Collard Greens, I find myself longing for a Tamale or 2. Wishing that when I left those friends behind to follow my husband across the country I would have at least brought with me the recipe for Miss Clara's Tamales.

This year that recipe may be in reach.

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