Tamales Ladies (And Men)

One of the enjoyable aspects of living in an area with a large Latino presence is the prevalence of “home made “ tamales peddled by mostly ladies, but a few men
out of the backs of cars, wagons, and other conveyances. We even had a lady on Saturday that would walk up our mountain road from the ranch down below, where her husband was a ranch hand.
My lady right now comes M-F and sits outside in the parking lot of my favorite grocery store. $1.50 a pop, and she’s got her own sauce to go.
Yesterday was pork , beef, and chicken for me…


Lucky you. Tamales are one of my favorite dishes, when I can get ‘em, which is not often.


Lucky you!!

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It is a way of life here as these are mostly wives of guys who do agricultural jobs
in the orchards and vineyards.
Always and only tamales.
My lady right now uses a cooler but others just put their whole tamale pots in the back of their vans and drive to certain spots.


Living in the UK, the only good tamales I’ve ever eaten were on a trip to Mexico a few years ago. In fact you rarely see them on menus here at all, despite the level of Mexican cooking rising in the last 3 or so years. So I’m definitely jealous, as they became one of my favourites.

We made them at home a couple of times and they were OK, but they weren’t quite right. I think it may have been the corn. We took a cooking class in Oaxaca and I’m pretty sure they used a different granularity of Masa for the Tamales. Not something that’s easy to get hold of over here

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Houston checking in here. We have a bazillion Hispanics here, heck I’m married to one, the Wifeacita.

So I’m driving home one day and a lady flags me down. Being an all around swell guy I stop and it turns out she wants a ride to the bingo hall so she could sell her tamales.

I take her there and buy a dozen and they were delicious. The Wifeacita loved them and the only thing she was upset about was that I didn’t get the tamale ladies’ phone number.


I feel your pain.

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Tamales are a very labor intensive endeavor requiring a minimum of two experienced tamale makers.

I was lucky to sit in while the Wifeacita and her sister made a huge batch. My job was to drink beer, watch TV and stay way out of the way.

I must say there is nothing finer than fresh tamales out of the oven.


Not the worst job description.




Wrong a mundo, just corrected from the source. Steamed on the stove top.


I was worried, but intrigued, thinking baked tamales might be an unknown Houston regional treat.
Like chimichangas or deep fried tacos :taco:

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Noooo! Chimichanga, never had one and never will.

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Lard is imperative .


I’m not a huge tamale fan, but some of the men I worked with years ago would bring me their wives’/mothers homemade tamales from time to time. I always thanked them and said how good they were.

Then one guy brought me his grandmother’s tamales which were wrapped in banana leaves instead of the usual corn husks. Different flavor but very good . I complimented him as well. His face lit up and he explained to me that Hispanic women are quite competitive when it comes to tamales and he would let her know. You got it. I never received another tamale from anyone else but her after that. Which didn’t exactly hurt my feelings, but I could just see his grandmother spreading the word that I preferred hers.:grinning:


Pickiest eater on these boards! :wink:

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LOVE tamales… not a ton to be found here in the northeast, TJ’s version is often my preference oven trying another bad / not quite / wish it were version.

I visit San Diego on and off, and wish I could find some of these car trunk tamales… had some really delicious ones close to the border at a tiny shop (pointing and google translate only).

So on one of these trips I asked my friend’s (mexican) housekeeper and her son where they get tamales (she’s a really good cook - her mole is superb, and I don’t even like mole). She thought for a while, then sheepishly told me her favorite are the TJ sweet corn tamales. We laughed long and hard together, because they’re mine too, just all the way across the country in nyc :joy:.

Still in search of a mythical tamale lady who hangs out on specific corners but only before 10am (not my forte on a weekend).


I have standards and they don’t include eating a disgusting fried burrito.


Your duties remind us of a reliable source’s recipe for deep frying a turkey. Ingredients = 12-14 lb. turkey, oil sufficient to submerge turkey, six-pack beer. Method: Heat oil for two beers; fry turkey for three beers; remove turkey and let cool for one beer. Carve turkey and get more beer. Never tried it, but sounds about right.


That would require them to get up at 2:00 am.
In my experience, they’re always an afternoon/evening treat because they start prepping in the morning, steam, and off to the races in the afternoon.
At least around here.

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