It's Christmas Time: Tamalalalala La La La La!

Posted on December 16, 2014 within HolidaysBehind the Scenes

At Food City, we take pride in the delicious offerings we make from scratch in our bakeries and delis. Whether it's for our famous francesitos, menudo, or pan dulce, many families make an extra stop (or two, or three) during the holiday season to stock up on the foods that make their family traditions even more memorable.

While we can't share our secret family recipes, we can share a few behind-the-scenes tidbits on what goes into making thousands of tamales each year:

  • It is a 2-day process to make a batch of tamales.
    • The 2-day process involves washing each husk by hand, mixing and flavoring the masa, cooking the fillings for 3 hours, assembling the tamales, cooking/steaming them for 3 hours, and packaging the tamales. Eating tamales is not an official step, however you can never blame someone for adding it to the process.
  • Each tamal is made by hand.
    • Robots? No. Galactic tamal machines? Please. Each tamal at Food City is made by hand. Assembling the tamales is the favorite part for our head tamal maker, Guillermina. With a spatula in hand, she spreads the masa on the husks and places the filling in each one by hand. Then, with her magic touch, she rolls it into a tamal. For Guillermina, "spreading the masa onto the husks is like a stress-relief for me," she says. She learned from a very young age how to make tamales. "My mom and grandmother sold menudo and tamales by going house to house in Chihuahua, so I learned to make them when I was 7 or 8 years old." 
  • Our most popular tamales are the red chile.
    • The first step in creating the filling for our red chile pork tamales is boiling the pork with onions, garlic and salt until it reaches perfection. Then, we mix it with our secret-recipe red chile sauce. The only people outside of the kitchen who know the recipe are the President and the Pope. Just kidding, but seriously it's secret so stop asking!
  • To keep up with demand, we hire additional tamal makers and increase production from 5 to 7 days a week during the holiday season.
    • We sell tamales year-round, but demand sky-rockets from November thru the New Year. To stay in stock during these months, we hire additional tamal makers and make tamales 7 days a week.
  • Our tamales are steamed for 3 hours.
    • Placed vertically in a large pot, our tamales are steamed for up to 3 hours to cook. It's like a sauna, but for tamales.
  • We sell four types: red chile, green chile with cheese, green chile chicken, and sweet.
    • We sell our tamales individually in our delis and in 1/2 dozen or dozen packages in our stores. We're proud of the delicious tamales we serve, and enjoy hearing the stories about how our tamales were a part of your family gathering.

During the holiday season, we think there's no such thing as too many tamales. We eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Stop by and pick some up today. For all our customers who make their own tamales by hand, we have all the ingredients and tools you need to make them, too. Visit us any of our 3 locations to get all your tamal supplies. You can also get great recipes and ideas on our tamal pinterest board.

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