Let not the presence of this photograph invoke the idea that the tamales in question are made with birria. No, this is just a sweet moment I captured at the holiday fair at Harley Goat Farms Dairy a couple of weekends ago. I just love it. Dee Harley's goats are so benevolent.
Here is the fourth guest author, Bianca Marquez, from Robin's Somers' writing class at UCSC, "The Meaning of Food." Her students are offering up their memoirs of childhood food, and it's my pleasure to publish them here.
Of Bianca, Robin writes:
Bianca Marquez realized she was Mexican-American on the afternoon her mother returned from the grocery story with a sack of masa for Christmas tamales. The young Bianca watches in awe as her mother and grandmother prepare the tamales, but, despite their coaxing, she cannot bring herself to eat one. Bianca has laid out her story about this traditional Mexican dish so effectively that her eventual decision to try a tamale symbolizes an embrace of her ethnicity.
"Tamales for Christmas"
by Bianca Marquez
I was six years old, sitting next to the fireplace with warm blankets covering every inch of my body. It wasn’t any ordinary time of the year. It so happened to be my favorite holiday of them all, Christmas. This specific holiday is a time of giving, loving, and an excuse to get together with your whole family.
As I was sitting by the fireplace with hot cocoa in my hand, I noticed someone was at the front door—my mom, coming from a long day at work. After a minute of waiting for her to barge into the door, I finally came to the conclusion that she might need some help. I threw off all of the blankets and ran straight to the door. I was right. She had gone to the market and came home with a porch full of groceries. As I ran the heavy grocery bags to my kitchen, I noticed that they weren’t the Vons bags that I was used to carrying across my house. These were bags from a completely different store, with cursive words “El Chapalito” on them. I was confused. It looked like alien food.