Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tamale Traditions

We've been making tamales forever. Three generations of my family has been elbow deep in that starchy dough we call masa, using an old recipe that has been handed down orally for well over 70 years. It's been a Christmas-time tradition for the Martinez clan. In times past our scattered family tree would congregate in Chicago's West Side. We would all be together in an old house that was filled with memories. We would get an assembly line going, the mixers, the fillers and the folders working together, listening to music, laughing and reminiscing, all while making our tamales.

Our yearly tradition has turned into a bi-yearly get together, but we are still making tamales every Christmas. Cousins in Arizona make them with their own twist, but its still the same recipe that binds us across states. The one that's been orally passed down for three generations. We will always be making our tamales. -Maurico Rubio

Mauricio Rubio has been part of the Iris PhotoCollective family for many years now. A 2008 graduate from Columbia College with a BA in photography, Mauricio is currently a contract photographer at the Chicago Tribune. Mauricio has also contributed to Knight-Ridder Tribune and the Sun-Times News Group and interned at the Baltimore Sun.