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Thanks Grandma, For Tamales

By Olga Ponce Guerra

Age Group: High School

Tamales may be a basic food. But for me it's a life story. My grandma, Melida, was one of the most special people to me. She was someone who loved to cook and always made me food that made me feel happy. But her most delicious food was tamales. My grandma was born and raised in Guatemala. Guatemala tamales are very different from other countries' tamales. 

I'm a christmas eve baby so i eat tamales on my birthday. Our family tradition and culture is to make tamales for christmas. 


My grandma was a nurse. Her whole town knew her. She is known to be a powerful woman. 


Me and my family and most hispanics celebrate christmas on the 24 instead of the 25. Everyone is wearing something new and looks fabulous. People sit down and talk to each other to pass time as they wait for food. My birthday is the day I see my entire family. Cousins. aunts and uncles. And sometimes people I don't even know. My Grandma was the one in charge of food. My mom helped her out. I would get ready in a very puffy dress and have my hair all nice and done. Just so people could sing to me. Unbelievable. I was not a big fan of my birthday. The only thing I looked forward to was tamales.

My grandma started preparing to make the tamales a day before. Tamales are made with a very soft dough, red sauce, and shredded pork. When they start making it, you can smell it a mile away. The smell of pork. Delicious. Just delicious. Tamales are so warm and soft. They give me a feeling that can only be described as peaceful. I could be sad and still be in a good mood to eat tamales. Tamales are a famous and easy meal in Guatemala and Mexico. Two countries from where I come from. 

When the tamales are warm and soft they are ready to serve. Everyone sits around the table as my grandma feeds a whole town. Well at least it looks like a whole town. We eat one and then another. Going back to chatting and chatting. Finally everyone is ready for cake. Soft sweet cake. Everyone sings to me and we all get a slice of cake. After 12:00, Christmas, everyone heads home. Just my sister, grandma, mom and me in the kitchen eating another tamale. This memory is one that I treasure. It's a little box. In my heart. 

I lost my grandma when I was 7. My grandma passed away leaving a legacy down to my mom. Growing up I looked forward to tamales with all the people that I love and that love me. But she passed away. I no longer cared about that meal. It no longer was special to me. I kinda pushed that memory away until I almost lost it. After she passed away I would just be stuck in my room. I wouldn't talk to anyone. I was like a prisoner in my own room. After a long time of being alone and thinking to myself I finally accepted that my grandma was gone. And all I wanted to do was find a way to be closer to her and honor her. As I was growing up, I begged my mom to make me tamales every year. I needed something to represent her and continue being close to her. 

My grandma was one of the strongest women I knew. Everyone that knew her knew she was such a kind soul and would do anything for anyone. That's my grandma. My grandma was a warrior to me. Warm hugs and love. That's my grandma. 

Tamales are important to me. They will always be that one meal that will make me feel good and will give me the memory of my grandma. Tamales will always be a part of my life. It is now a tradition to eat tamales to bring honor to my grandma. A meal that is everything to me. My grandma will always be close to me because of tamales. Thank you grandma. For a memory I will never forget. Let's make tamales one more time, grandma.

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