Let’s make tamales!

Carmen Lang grew up in Mexico City, but it wasn’t until she was an adult and owned an organic tortilla business in Nevada City, did she learn to make tamales.  

“I had the idea of making tamales because I love food,” said Lang, the owner of Hola! Tortilla. She learned to make tamales by watching YouTube videos of grandmothers teaching traditional ways.  

“We came up with a recipe using local meats and ingredients and lots of filling. I wanted mine to be different and they were a hit right away,” she said. 

Now she sells up to 10 dozen tamales a week and is getting orders for Christmas and New Year festivities from her shop on Zion Street next to The Ham Stand and Fudenjuice. 

This holiday season, Carmen wants to share what she has learned with the community.  

She is teaming up with BriarPatch Food Co-op to teach “Chili Today, Hot Tamale” a mini tamale-making demo and tasting to be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7 in the Community Room at The Co-op, located at 290 Sierra College Drive in Grass Valley.  

The event marks the first in-person cooking demonstration offered by BriarPatch in years. 

Participants will learn tips and tricks for making tamales – from preparing the masa and filling to assembling the husks. Guests will sample three savory tamales – veggie, chicken and pork – and one seasonal sweet tamale made with apples, cinnamon and walnuts. As an extra treat, all cooking students will receive one free tamale voucher for Hola Tortilla in Nevada City. 

For some, making tamales feels daunting. But Lang says not to worry.  

“It’s not difficult but it is a lot of steps. It’s easier to make in a group,” she said.  

Tamales originated in Mesoamerica as early as 8000 to 5000 BC. The preparation of tamales is likely to have spread from the indigenous cultures in Guatemala and Mexico to the rest of Latin America. Many communities and families have adapted the tamale to their own local cuisine.  

“Tamales are great. You can eat them in the car, they are easy to serve, easy to store and very satisfying. You can make tamales of any kind,” said Lang. 

All participants of this week’s demo will receive a step-by-step tamale making recipe guide and virtual cook-along video by popular Co-op cooking instructors Hether Frayer and Chef Maria Teresa of Teresa’s Kitchen. 

All participants will be equipped with the guidance they’ll need to make this delicious Mexican holiday tradition at home. That’s good news for home cooks like Jennifer Nobles who loves eating tamales but has never made them before. She is hoping the class will help her get over her fear.  

“Every class I’ve taken has been really educational. If you love food and love to cook and love to learn, BriarPatch does a great job of providing that knowledge and support,” said Nobles. She has taken numerous online cooking classes from BriarPatch covering everything from brunch to dolmas. 

She is extra excited, because her mom went to high school in El Paso, Texas and developed a deep love for Mexican cuisine, specifically tamales.  

“We used to order from a company in El Paso for our Christmas dinners. Who doesn’t love a tamale?” 

As a Co-op Owner benefit, BriarPatch Owners who sign up for the demo will receive a $5 credit on their owner account.    

Learn more and purchase tickets at: https://bit.Ly/3F2O7UN 

Ticket Includes: 

  • Mini tamale-making demo class 
  • Tasting of 3 different Tamales 
  • One free tamale voucher at Hola Tortilla 
  • Step-by-step recipe guide 
  • Virtual cook-along video 
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