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Tamales, a Family Tradition

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If you celebrate Christmas in a Hispanic household, chances are good that there will be plenty of tamales for the holiday meal. Most families make the preparations a family affair.

Aurelia Orozco has been making tamales for as long as she can remember.

"They come by to see grandma to get tamales," as Orozco laughs. She adds, "Its not an easy task, it takes a lot of work."

But for the women in this kitchen, it’s about family and tradition.

"Its like an assembly line, you do this and you do that and of course in a family there's always quarrels, oh your not doing it right, but its fun. Sort of like a family get together," says Orozco.

Tamales are a holiday tradition to the Mexican culture although Aurelia wasn't too interested in learning how to make them when her mom was trying to teach her. But soon enough, Aurelia learned how to enjoy keeping a holiday custom alive.

A Tamalada is a group of family and friends that get together to get the hands-on experience by preparing the basics of great tamales, the spreading, the filling and the rolling.

Aurelia remembers one moment when passing down the tamale tradition to her only daughter.

"I remember this, when I was making the masa at first, I was trying to show her how. The masa was real watery, and we didn't know what to do with it, so we added flour," says Orozco.

According to an article last month, prices have gone up on tamales. About 30 years ago, this mother of five was cooking a meal with tacos and tamales for a church fundraiser, for a whopping $1.25 a plate. Quite a change in 2004, an average cost for an order of tamales, is $6 a dozen.

It's a tradition not likely to be lost anytime soon. It’s been passed down from generation to generation, just like the recipe for the perfect tamale.