In Pre-Columbian times, around 5000 BC, women would accompany men to battle, working as army cooks. As the battles intensified, the cooks needed to devise a plan to give food a longer shelf life and make it more portable. And so the tamale was born.
This new fare gave the warriors a compact meal that could be made ahead and heated as needed. Today, the tamale is a staple in many Latin American cultures and a holiday tradition for many Mexican-American families. The history and fascination of this delectable dish will be featured at the Celebrate Tamales Fiesta, Sept. 17-19, at the L.A. County Fair. The three-day gathering will include cooking classes, corn masa demonstrations, music and tamales, tamales, tamales. The celebration will be located right outside of The Vineyard in the Home and Gardens neighborhood.
The Tamale Museum from the Mission San Juan Capistrano is presenting the fiesta. Among the exhibits on display will be: Comidas Prehispanicas a collection of historic photographs chronicling indigenous vegetables, exotic fruits and other prepared dishes from pre-European times; Maize In the Beginning featuring corn, the basis of the Mexican kitchen, the mythology, the planting and the foods of this pivotal ingredient; and The Spanish Kitchen showing how Mexican and European cooking blended.
Both traditional and gourmet tamales will be sold, accompanied by salsas, pozole and fresh guacamole. Refreshing beverages of pineapple, melon, strawberry and lime juice will also be available.
All the ingredients used in the preparation of tamales, enchiladas, tacos, soups, salads and desserts will be featured at The Mexican Market. While the products are not for sale, expert guides will be on hand to educate visitors on their uses.
Celebrate Tamales Fiesta is sure to be a savory experience for the senses.
The L.A. County Fair runs from Sept. 10-26 with fun for the entire family. For more information, visit the Web site at www.lacountyfair.com or call (909) 623-3111.