Mexican Tamales prepared Veronica Herrera and a team of volunteers.
Making tamales for Christmas Eve is as relevant to the Latin American culinary celebration as making turkey for the Thanksgiving in the United States. Even the Philippine partakes in the tradition. Various countries do it different ways from wrapped in banana leaf to corn husk. The flavors may be savory or sweet. The fillings vary including chicken, beef, pork, chicken or cheese but what stays the sames is masa as a key ingredient of the filling. The process includes steaming the tamales once wrapped. Some cultures use a steamer pot while other do not.
We’ve covered many types of tamales on multiculturalcookingnetwork.com. MCCN’s Crystal Johnson and Veronica Herrera came together to make Mexican tamales for a Nicaragua Medical Missions fundraiser one week before Christmas. They made 500 hundred tamales. Watch Video
MCCN Editor pushes Masa Cart
Veronica is an incredible cook and leader in the kitchen
Veronica Herrera steams the tamales.
The best way to get people together to discuss their cultures is through food. “Food is the cross section for communication,” says Crystal A. Johnson, founder and editor-in- chief of the MultiCultural Cooking Network (MCCN).
“I was one of the first people watching cooking shows all day before it was trendy. On the network there weren’t any prominent people of color,” Johnson says. In 2007, she decided to create her own YouTube channel to showcase missing cultures. Since then, MCCN has evolved from a YouTube channel to a Web site that is not just about food. “The MultiCultural Cooking Network isn’t just about cooking food; it’s to create discussion about culture.”
Crystal Johnson, MCCN Editor– To the best of my recollection hot cross buns stand out for me. They were sort of different and it never really dawned on me about the religious signifigance. They were neat looking. As for the taste, it was somewhere between a pastry and sweet bread.
Chef Jay Bonilla, En La Cocina Para Mi Amor- Host– In Honduras we don’t celebrate Easter as you do here, it is a time for reflection because it is when Jesus died, and Friday we eat dried fish soup because we are not supposed to eat meat.
Monica Johnson, MCCN Associate Editor– I don’t really have a favorite meal, but I do remember making Easter Eggs…boiling them, dying them and then decorating them was a lot of fun. Afterwards, I would put it in my big straw Easter basket. The thing I anticipated most was eating the big chocolate bunny that I got faithfully every year. I’m really thankful for those memories.
Micheal Fusco, MCCN Film Critic “Film and Foodie”-
My aunt makes an amazing potato, onion, and cheese casserole. We have it every year.
Sunni Boswell, Asian Express Host -Easter time was a time for traditional midwest feast of delicious glazed ham directly from a butcher. Festooned with pineapple slices and cherries carefully arranged on the cross-hatched surface. All golden brown and soooo delicious. Decadant scalloped potatoes with three cheeses and onions, a crunchy delicious cucumber and onion salad and roasted tomatoes. Hardly Asian, but always delicious
and mouth watering. And, of course, a bowlful of colorful decorated Easter Eggs and chocolates!! As well as fresh cut flowers in crystal on table along with crisp linens.
Carla Crudup, Make Yourself Comfortable American Style- Host: I can remember smelling the buttery homemade yeast dinner rolls rising and baking, fresh green beans cooking and helping to make the potato salad. The glazed ham baking in the oven also brings backs great holiday memories that was garnished with cloves, brown sugar and pineapple. We always had a second entree that was either prime rib, salmon or a rack of lamb. My mom was very diligent and passionate about decorating for the holidays and made easter baskets for everyone. I can recall the bunny napkin rings that graced the table that had been decorated with china and crystal. Pots of fresh lillies, daffodils and tulips were placed outside of the home… My parents always emphasized the reason for the celebration of Easter.