Ma Ma Ma My Tamales!

Ma Ma Ma My Tamales!

This is just fabulous!  Homemade tamales!  Right in front of my eyes!

Yesterday was the wonderful opportunity to spend the hours with a beautiful Mexican/Mayan family in the Pueblo of Akumal.  Sort of like the other side of the tracks life without the thug element.

Akumal is known as a tourist mecca for swimming with turtles.  Lots of controversies there so it was just so pleasant and marvelous to see another side of Akumal.  The real side of Akumal.

I’ve been around a lot in the state of Quintana Roo……seen a lot of really neat things and done a lot of really neat things.  But it’s this experience that I imagined before coming to Mexico.  Actually, visit with people in their homes and businesses, engage them in their lives and experience, not just the cuisine but experience a life.

This is hard on so many levels.  This is so different.

I’m reminded of a stay in Villahermosa (I believe that’s in the state of Tabasco), just coming out of the mountains and seeing life as I’d never seen before.  The hotel staff made quick friends with us and I was explaining what I had seen and experienced and how poor these people were.  They could tell that it had an effect on me.  Then came the moment I was educated, “John, they don’t know that they are poor.  They are a very happy and contented people.”


I was looking at their life through my American eyes.  And I was wrong.

   These pics were away from the main road (almost called it a boulevard).  You can see Max’s head in the picture of the mission….hehehehehe.  I wanted to take some pictures of the houses but, people are living their daily lives…..

Ma Ma Ma My Tamales!

There isn’t any air conditioning to these homes with the exception of fans.  People are cooking outdoors, their houses are wide open and you can see them at the tables, in chairs or hammocks.  Very authentic and interesting.

Back to ma ma ma My tamales!  (My Sharona is stuck in my head!)

I’ve always loved tamales.  Ivy’s Barb-a-que back home in Plaquemine, Louisiana…….wow!  I grew up eating those ‘hot tamales’!  When I visit, I think I’ll make a trip to Ivy’s for another bite.

This is Roger’s (pronounced Ro-kay) mom.  She’s gonna walk us thru the process of making tamales.  Unfortunately, I was having some unclear health issue at the start so I missed out on some of the pictures.  All the cooking takes place outdoors, with the BEST results!  In all this process is around 4 hours! Lots of laughing, talking and drinking for a GREAT time.  Keep in mind most of these people don’t speak a word of English.  And my Espanol is, well almost non-existent.

Ma Ma Ma My Tamales!

She makes this great filing that gets snuggled in the middle along with (in this instance) chicken. She had this mixture like a bowl of dough sitting ready and did a little more work to show how it was made.  You’ll notice to the left of the bowl on the table the green object, that’s the banana leaves she wraps the tamale in.

Let’s see how this works…..first time I’ve uploaded a video for my blog.  She’s working this tamale thing really good!  I seriously didn’t realize how much effort went into making this tasty treat!


Here’s the stove that the mixture is brewed on   The oven portion of the stove is used for storage……great stuff inside!  You’ll notice on top of the table next to the Dos Equis is my stack of tamales waiting for the next phase of the cooking.

Ma Ma Ma My Tamales! 

The tamales are gently place in a large pot that is like a vented double boiler with lots of banana leaves craddling my tamales and placed on the pit!    Before this stage the habaneras are roasted as part of the prep work for the habanera sauce.    This will make about a quart of habanea sauce.

Next it was removing them from the pot  and let them cool for the ride home.

Here’s where the dishes are done…..  

And here’s the fire maker!    Sweet gentle man……no English and yet we managed to communicate.  Of course Roger helped with a lot of the translation.  Pure Mayan speech.  I was totally in ‘awe’!!

We couldn’t go without entertainment!!

I’ll have to revist the non-tamale aspect of this visit on another day.

Suffice it to say it was a spectacular day……..Ma Ma Ma My Tamales!

Peace, love, and beaches,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *