In Peru, the Christmas holidays begin on Christmas Eve and end on Januray 6th, the Epiphany. During this time, especially since it is Summer in Peru, families take time to vacation and sit in the glory of the moment. Christmas Eve is sacred and centered around Midnight Mass and yet major food celebrations, especially Peruvian tamals. The Epiphany is the day to share gifts and spend the day together.
In our family, we blended both the American and Peruvian Christmas traditions. It all began with the epic Peruvian Christmas Eve celebration that literally continued right into the American Christmas morning tradition. Celebrating like this was fantastic as a kid but when I was an adult, I wondered how in the world my parents pulled it off every year. It’s exhausting but fabulous! You can read more about this in our ‘Blending of American and Peruvian Christmas Cultures‘ article.
My mother is from Arequipa, Peru, and she was a devoted daughter of the country. Her love of Peru kept me in the loop for her family recipes and cultural celebrations. One of the main players in Christmas Eve food fests is the tamal. This is typical to many of the Latin American and South American countries. The Peruvian version is very similar to the Mexican tamale but with a greater focus on the masa dough
For some reason, my mother never made tamals. Probably because she was exhausted from running my parent’s corporation and the family without any help. She probably would have loved to put time into tamals rather than balancing projections and budgets. Still, her ocopa and empanadas were always in the mix.
Fortunately for our subscribers, we have included the Peruvian Tamal recipe on our December newsletter. The recipe is perfect to make with a group of friends. Everyone completes a step to make the full production as a group. Once it’s time to assemble the tamals, it will feel like a Christmas wrapping party. Lots of laughing and storytelling to be had!
Enjoy the recipe by clicking on the picture of the scrumptious tamal below!
Buen Provecho y Salud!