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Restaurant owner offers tamale-making class

December 8, 2009 12:29:50 AM PST
Making tamales during the holidays has always been a family tradition for Tarascos owner Antonio Garcia. Garcia says the recipe isn't difficult, just time-consuming."In our family, this actually takes two days, two business days," Garcia said said. "It's the most fun. The more people you have, it is also easier."

Tamale-making classes are purposely kept small, allowing students to get hands-on instruction on the traditional steps of making tamales.

First, Garcia demonstrates how to mix the previously prepared masa (dough). Next, patrons receive lessons on dipping the corn husks in water and spreading the masa correctly along the husk.

Students then fill the tamale with their choice of fresh shredded chicken, Mexican cheese, colorful raw veggies and red or green chile.

Carefully folding the tamale takes some practice, but Garcia helps the students every step of the way. When students have folded and labeled their creations, they can leave them with Tarascos for pick-up later, or take them home to be steamed.

"The hardest part was trying to wrap them, mine always came out really small and sort of oddly shaped," said new student Melinda Green of West Hollywood.

Tamale Making 101 is not just about bringing fresh tamales home. It's about bringing people together.

"Now you can (not) only make tamales, but you can also enjoy being around the people you love, the people that you want to be around this holiday season."

"It's like a communal event," said Wayne Selway of Los Angeles.

One lesson that is crucial to delivering delicious tamales? Leave the Scrooge attitude at home.

Families and friends that gather to prepare tamales must be in good spirits, or they will turn out pintos, which is Spanish for raw.

"(Tamales) cook sometimes more flat, sometimes they cook in the middle kind of raw, so you want to make sure everybody is happy and having a good time making your tamales tonight," Garcia said.

Tarascos
3319 Sunset Blvd.
Silver Lake, CA 90026
(323) 669-3300

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