When you eat a tamale, you are partaking of history. Tamales are one of the oldest Mexican dishes that is still being enjoyed by many today. Tamales were first referenced in Pre-Columbian times and they probably date back as far as 7000 B.C. Tamales were used during times of war as they can be made and stored ahead of time. Eddie’s Mexican Restaurant will share the beginning of this traditional favorite known as the Tamale and how it has evolved today.
Portable Food Aztec & Mayan Soldiers Could Eat; Tamales with Creative Fillings
Tamales were a favorite food during time of war, beginning somewhere around 7000 B.C. The women were brought along during times of war as cooks. There was a demand for portable food that the warriors could take with them and eat later. The tamale was then created. We look at modern tamales as a corn-based tortilla wrapping, with a meaty stuffing that is then wrapped and cooked in a corn husk. Back in 7000 B.C., tamales were much like modern tamales, but they would sometimes use banana leaves or even tree bark as well as corn husk. The inside of the tamale varied back then as well as the ingredients that could be found, ground and using whatever meat they were able to hunt. Due to the limited resources, they created fish and pork tamales. Most modern tamales are beef based. However, ancient Mexico had limited beef. Tamales were greatly used by the ancient Mayans and Aztec as the two cultures interacted with each other, most often during war. During times of peace, the Mayans and Aztecs would trade with each other.
How to Cook Tamales; Steam, Boil, Grill, Roast or Fry
When tamales were made back then, they could be eaten cold or warm. There were different methods of warming the tamale. Tamales could be cooked by roasting, steaming, and boiled. In modern times, many tamales are still cooked this way. We will now fry and oven roast tamales as well. In modern Mexican cuisine we most often see just a corn-based tamale wrap inside a corn husk. However, grain and corn species varied in ancient Mexico and there were red tamales and green tamales that use a different grain based. Essentially, tamales were cooked in any non-toxic leaf which also helped preserve the tamales longer. Tamales became a favorite when traveling, going hunting and during times of war since they can be prepared beforehand and taken along with the person as they left home.
Modern Mexican Tamales
Tamales were enjoyed back in 7000 B.C., throughout history, and even today. When you consider traditional Mexican food as a cultural staple, tamales are one of the oldest transitional Mexican dishes. Tamales are still prepared and cooked the same way with little alteration. Most modern tamales are created with modern resources which reduces the diversity of ancient times. When making your own tamales you can use any meat and combine it with your favorite Mexican ingredients. Tamales are a great choice of food for parties and family gatherings and makes for a great addition during a BBQs, as they taste great when grilled.
Traditional Mexican Cuisine in Las Vegas, Nevada (Just Minutes from Summerlin, North LV & Henderson, NV)
When visiting Eddie’s Mexican Restaurant don’t miss out on your chance to partake of history and try our traditional Tamales. Mark your calendar to visit Eddie’s Mexican Restaurant later this year. We are working hard to open in September, 2019!