Hi everyone! Before I go any further, I want to thank Sue for allowing me to write a guest post for her blog. I appreciate this wonderful opportunity. For those who don’t know of me or my blog, I’m Lisa Amaya from Life of an El Paso Woman. I’m a 30-something mom to my 11-year-old son, Jacob. I’ve been writing stories and poetry since I was 6 years old. I’ve written for different newspapers, magazines and online publications for about 10 years. Aside from my blog, I’m currently a contributor to What’s Up Weekly in El Paso, Texas. I interview musicians and celebrities from around the world for this publication. I also attend movie premieres, concerts, festivals, museum exhibits and other fun events.
My first book is currently in the works. I hope to finish it by late 2017 or early 2018. The story takes place in El Paso. It’s about a 25-year-old woman whose lost and confused in life. She has a close relationship with her grandmother, a well-known curandera (a natural healer) who passes away two years before. The woman experiences flashbacks of the times she spent with her grandmother, ex-boyfriend and being abused. Her two best friends have become part of her family. The book will also include some of my family’s Mexican recipes. Some of the recipes date back over 100 years to my great grandmother’s kitchen. Many of the recipes were passed down to my grandmother and mother. My great grandmother was born in Michoacán, Mexico. She immigrated to the United States in the 1900’s. The book will be written in Spanglish, a language that mixes up the English and Spanish language. This is what’s often spoken here in El Paso. El Paso is a border town 45 minutes away from Juarez, Mexico and Las Cruces, New Mexico. Food and spending time with loved ones are a huge part of the Hispanic culture. I’m going to tell you a little bit more about the two.
One of the best birthday presents my grandmother has given me was her homemade gorditas. Some people in other parts of Texas and California refer to them as puffy tacos. Gorditas are made out of corn flour or Maseca. The corn flour is mixed with the hands in a bowl with salt and water. After the corn flour is mixed and hardened, it’s made into balls and flattened. The flat corn flour is then fried with oil in a pan. The gorditas become a golden brown color. Afterwards, the oil is wiped off with a napkin or paper towel. It’s then opened in the center with a butter knife. The gorditas can be filled with different toppings like chicken or beef. My favorite filling is ground beef mixed with diced potatoes. This mix is called picadillo. My gorditas are then topped with a little mountain of grated cheese and red or green salsa. I sometimes add shredded lettuce and tomato.
Most Mexican foods are served with a side of pinto beans and red, Spanish rice. My favorite beans are the ones made in a crockpot with salt, slices of bacon and weenie. The beans taste even better with cheese and a dash of salt on top of them. Spanish rice is fried in oil and made with garlic and tomato sauce.
One of my family’s traditions is making 25-30 pounds of tamales every year. Tamales are a popular Mexican Entrée made with masa (dough made out of corn). The masa is combined and cooked with different meat and fruit fillings on top of a corn husk. Don’t worry, the meat and fruits usually aren’t mixed together! During Christmastime, me, my mom and grandmother get together to make three different types of tamales. My son even helped us last year. It’s a great time for us to bond and catch up on life.
The tamales are eaten for Christmas dinner. We make red (rojo), green (verde) and azucar (sweet/sugar) tamales. The red tamales are made with chile and pork. The green tamales include chicken, green chile and muenster cheese. Spices like cumin and garlic are always used in the red and green tamales. The sweet tamales are filled with pecans, coconut, raisins, anise, pineapple and sugar. The filling is placed and flattened on top of a corn husk with a spoon. One side of the corn husk is folded up so that the filling doesn’t come out while they’re cooking in a large pot on top of the stove. The corn husk is removed once the tamales are cooked and ready to eat. The sweet tamales taste great with a cup of coffee or Champurrado! Champurrado is similar to hot chocolate but thicker. It’s made with corn flour and has a chocolaty, cinnamon taste. The other tamales taste good with a Coke. These are just a couple of my favorite Mexican foods and traditions. I’ll be sharing more in my book and blog. Please feel free to connect with me at: www.lifeofanelpasowoman.com and/or Twitter @
Lisa Amaya enjoys writing about different subjects like current events, the people and places in El Paso, Texas, parenting, music, movies, sports, my life, Hispanic culture, etc.
Lisa is a New Mexico State University graduate, holding a Bachelor of Arts Degree in journalism with a minor in history. She has written for various print and online publications in the past and is always looking for freelance writing and guest blogging opportunities.