Making Tamales With Barrio Cafe's Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza

Last week I met up with three girlfriends for a fabulous early Christmas treat: a tamale-making class at Barrio Cafe.

Chef-owner Silvana Salcido Esparza led a full house through a step-by-step tutorial on creating these scrumptious, bite-sized versions of the traditional Mexican holiday food, and she was a real hoot -- confident, funny, and full of energy. (Did you know that joint-rolling skills come in handy when making tamales? Good to know!)

This particular event was a special fundraiser for the Calle 16 Mural Project, but I can honestly envision her turning cooking classes into a heck of a side business, because everyone was having a blast -- chatting with each other, getting pointers from Esparza, experimenting with different tamale-wrapping techniques, and swigging delicious margaritas.

Apparently, getting tipsy and gossiping is the most authentic way to make tamales.


Trust me, you'll go through a plate of corn husks in no time.

It took some of us a little time to get the hang of it, but before long, we were all wrapping tamales like pros. Everyone contributed a few handmade creations to a communal pot of tamales that were steamed while we continued working. Our reward was eating them at the end of the class.

My goodness, were they heavenly -- not only because the fillings were delectable, but because a healthy dose of lard made that masa just melt on my tongue.

Hungry yet? I sure am.

Check back tomorrow for a recipe and tamale-making tips.

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Michele Laudig
Contact: Michele Laudig