History of Tamales
Tamales are a New Mexico cultural food staple that dates back to 1800’s. Popular with locals and visitors alike, this blog provides information as to why guests of Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast inn- Santa Fe find staying with us is more than a bed and a breakfast…. It’s a true one of kind historic Santa Fe New Mexico travel experience! One key element to our success in creating an authentic historic travel experience centers around breakfast. The popularity of our New Mexico red chile pork tamales served hot daily on our traditional New Mexico breakfast buffet has become a culinary experience guests expect and do not want changed! We hope you’ll take a moment to enlighten yourself on the history of the Tamale!!
“Tamale” is derived from the word tamalii, an Aztec word meaning “wrapped food.” Though we are not certain when or who invented the tamale, we do know tamales were written about since pre-Columbian days. Aztecs served Spaniard soldiers tamales during visits to Mexico in the 1550’s. Tamales were eaten by soldiers on long sojourns into Mexico as tamales are portable and easy to heat.
Tamales have been eaten in the United States since at least 1893 when they were featured at the World’s Columbian Exposition. A tradition of roving tamale sellers was documented in early 20th-century in blue/ragtime music song “They’re Red Hot” by Robert Johnson.
While Mexican-style and other Latin American-style tamales are featured at ethnic restaurants throughout the United States, Pueblo Bonito b&b inn- Santa Fe proudly features our traditional New Mexico red chile pork tamale! A distinctly indigenous tribute to New Mexico culture, tradition and cuisine.
Tamales typically are not made every day, as they once were, as they are very labor intensive. Rather you find tamales being made for special occasions like the Day of the Dead, Christmas, Native American Feast Days, New Year’s or just about any other family or holiday celebration. Tamale making is usually a family affair! Traditionally family members gather together and make fillings and masa the day before. Day 2 creates an assembly line where family of all ages spread the masa on corn husks, fill, and fold the tamales. Once the tamales are assembled, they are steamed and finally eaten. Usually hundreds of tamales are made at once so everyone can take some home and share with friends and family. Guests of Pueblo Bonito, though not required to create the tamale, are warmly invited to our tables to share as friends in this delectable tradition of hospitality- enjoy!