Memories of Benson: Tamales

One in a series

By George Potter

In summer, when the corn began ripen my mom and aunts would buy elotes, ears of ripe corn, to make tamales de elote, green corn tamales.  We went to Pomerene or St. David to buy the corn in large gunny sacks. My Tia Rachel had a hand grinder and all of us cousins would have to take turns turning the crank to grind up the corn kernels which had been stripped off the cobs by the women. That is how the masa, the dough, was made. Tamale making was a long process and many were made at one time. My favorite were the green tamales de elote. They were flat and besides the masa had only cheese and green chile in them.

Of course we made red chile, meat tamales also. They were always served after midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. We would go to farms and pick green and red chiles and fill many gunny sacks for salsa and tamales.