Every so often I am reminded that there are massive divisions between the Southwest and the rest of this great Nation, and never so much as the Christmas Season and Drug Deal Tamales.
For those poor, un-tamaled folks outside of the Southwest, this Season heralds the appearance of Little Old Mexican Ladies — or their representatives — who bring tamales.
Now, most Health Departments have rules, regulations, and ordinances regarding the things you have to do before you are allowed to sell pre-made foodstuffs.
On the other paw, most abuelitas don’t give to hoots in hell about the regs concerning commercial food productions — nor do they have any interest in ponying up the fees and other dosh required to become sanctified by the Bureacracy.
So, a lot of these tamales are sold on the sly — depending on how tolerant the local Health Department is. They’ll be a battered pickup, or four-door car in a parking lot, you pass over cash and receive a ziplock baggie containing a brick-sized lump of tinfoil with Heaven stuffed into little cornhusk packets.
Or someone in your office knows someone, who knows someone, and will pass along your order, or take up a collection.
Yes, you can get tamales from actual, certified restaurants and suppliers, but I’ve never had tamales as good as those from a random Mexican grandmother, passed over still steaming, and wolfed down at a stop-light, or in the driveway.
These tamales — either pork or chicken — are a big part of Christmas for me, and I kind of feel sorry for those folks in other parts of the Country who have never had them.