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Tamales: a great way to celebrate the holidays
 
Photo courtesy: pixabay.com
 

By Joshua Pilkington
News@lavozcolorado.com
 
11/22/2017

Maria del Socorro Salazar continues to prepare and teach the art of the tamale

When she began to make tamales at age 25 in Durango, Mexico, Maria del Socorro Salazar didn’t know that she was going to give way to a little business that she would continue practicing years later in Colorado.

“I learned to make my tamales by helping the people of the town that we’re from,” she said of her tamale beginnings. “Over the holidays we would always bring atole with tamales to the people doing the pastorela. I would help and noticed at a young age how the people made them. Now the recipes are mine, but I learned to make them by watching.”

Her recipes have caught the attention of many people around Salazar who now resides near Evans and Monaco where she still prepares tamales per request for her neighbors and friends from church.

“In the church we go to they’ll ask for two dozen tamales or 10 dozen tamales and I ask them what day they want them and I’ll have them ready for the day and the hour that they want,” she said.

Although her passion for the tamales, which she has been preparing in Colorado for 18 years, has been a fruitful business among her friends and family, Salazar said that she was not able to make something more out of her love of tamales.

“It was always my dream, since I began making tamales here,” she said. “It was always my dream to have a larger business to sell the tamales. The problem was that the years went by and we just never went for it.”

Salazar added that she now is ill and unable to put forth the same effort in preparing her tamales as she did 10 years ago.

“If I have requests, I’ll make six dozen on Tuesday, six dozen on Wednesday, six dozen on Thursday and six dozen on Friday. That’s all I’ll do. Before that wasn’t the case,” she said. “Before, I would make 20 dozen every day.”

Now that she is unable to make hundreds of tamales daily, Salazar said that she’s begun to focus on keeping her tradition alive through teaching.

“I’m the type of person that agrees with teaching other people,” she said. “If they tell me, for example, ‘I have six people here can you teach them?’ I’ll tell them, yes. I don’t want my thing to end. I want it to go on because these tamales are clean and delicious. And I say that based on what people have told me. It’s a beautiful thing when one’s tradition or one’s teaching goes on to her grandchildren and her kids and even in people that aren’t part of the family. I can teach them.”

In her opinion, Salazar’s tamales are simple and only require a handful of ingredients.

“I don’t use a lot of ingredients,” she affirmed. “I prepare four types of tamales. I make tamales with green salsa, with red salsa, with cheese and rajas and sweet tamales.”

Salazar said, for example, that her green chile tamales only have “pork, jalapeño, tomatillo, garlic and chicken stock.”

Her other tamales follow a similar process from the most basic made of cheese and rajas, which simple contain cheese and strips of jalapeño, to the sweet tamales that are a little more complicated.

“They contain raisins, coconut, walnuts, butter and are mixed with milk,” said Salazar, who added that the sweet tamales are particularly desired during the holiday months of November, December and January. “They can be pink or yellow, depending on how you want them. If you want them with pineapple they’re yellow y and ones with coconut are pink.”

Joshua Pilkington

Maria del Socorro Salazar continues to prepare and teach the art of the tamale

When she began to make tamales at age 25 in Durango, Mexico, Maria del Socorro Salazar didn’t know that she was going to give way to a little business that she would continue practicing years later in Colorado.

“I learned to make my tamales by helping the people of the town that we’re from,” she said of her tamale beginnings. “Over the holidays we would always bring atole with tamales to the people doing the pastorela. I would help and noticed at a young age how the people made them. Now the recipes are mine, but I learned to make them by watching.”

Her recipes have caught the attention of many people around Salazar who now resides near Evans and Monaco where she still prepares tamales per request for her neighbors and friends from church.

“In the church we go to they’ll ask for two dozen tamales or 10 dozen tamales and I ask them what day they want them and I’ll have them ready for the day and the hour that they want,” she said.

Although her passion for the tamales, which she has been preparing in Colorado for 18 years, has been a fruitful business among her friends and family, Salazar said that she was not able to make something more out of her love of tamales.

“It was always my dream, since I began making tamales here,” she said. “It was always my dream to have a larger business to sell the tamales. The problem was that the years went by and we just never went for it.”

Salazar added that she now is ill and unable to put forth the same effort in preparing her tamales as she did 10 years ago.

“If I have requests, I’ll make six dozen on Tuesday, six dozen on Wednesday, six dozen on Thursday and six dozen on Friday. That’s all I’ll do. Before that wasn’t the case,” she said. “Before, I would make 20 dozen every day.”

Now that she is unable to make hundreds of tamales daily, Salazar said that she’s begun to focus on keeping her tradition alive through teaching.

“I’m the type of person that agrees with teaching other people,” she said. “If they tell me, for example, ‘I have six people here can you teach them?’ I’ll tell them, yes. I don’t want my thing to end. I want it to go on because these tamales are clean and delicious. And I say that based on what people have told me. It’s a beautiful thing when one’s tradition or one’s teaching goes on to her grandchildren and her kids and even in people that aren’t part of the family. I can teach them.”

In her opinion, Salazar’s tamales are simple and only require a handful of ingredients.

“I don’t use a lot of ingredients,” she affirmed. “I prepare four types of tamales. I make tamales with green salsa, with red salsa, with cheese and rajas and sweet tamales.”

Salazar said, for example, that her green chile tamales only have “pork, jalapeño, tomatillo, garlic and chicken stock.”

Her other tamales follow a similar process from the most basic made of cheese and rajas, which simple contain cheese and strips of jalapeño, to the sweet tamales that are a little more complicated.

“They contain raisins, coconut, walnuts, butter and are mixed with milk,” said Salazar, who added that the sweet tamales are particularly desired during the holiday months of November, December and January. “They can be pink or yellow, depending on how you want them. If you want them with pineapple they’re yellow y and ones with coconut are pink.”

 

 

 

 

 
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