Sunday, March 3, 2013

Visit to Maltrata

I went back to Maltrata February 7-10th to celebrate Mama Juanita's birthday.

view from the bus window of Maltrata down below

I arrived in time on Thursday to help make the tamales for Friday's celebration. The masa (dough) was practically ready by the time I got there, though they were still working on getting it to just the right consistency and flavor. There was regular masa, made with ground corn (cornmeal? cornflour?) and lard, as well as frijol (bean) dough and alverjón (dried pea) dough.

regular masa 

black bean masa
To make the tamales they layered the regular and bean doughs and regular and alverjón doughs, creating a marbled look. 

bean tamales ready to be wrapped
They taught me how to wrap the tamal dough in a leaf from an avocado tree (for flavoring) and then in a corn husk, twisting the end and pushing it into the dough to keep it closed while cooking.

bean tamal with an avocado leaf (behind) in a corn husk

wrapping tamales

tamales wrapped and ready to be cooked
There was leftover dough, so they also made some with the regular masa with rajas (cooked and sliced poblano chili peppers) and cheese inside. 

That evening we took the kiddos to the new park by the old Railroad Substation, where we saw a beautiful sunset. 

the boys with their mom

the old Railroad Substation 

The boys' current obsession is Toy Story, so we spent lots of time playing with the Toy Story toys that the reyes magos (wisemen) brought him for Día de los Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day / Day of the Wisemen).

The daughters and daughter-in-laws of the family spent Friday morning preparing the chicken, mole (which Mama Juanita made - it was delicious!!), rice, tamales and salad for that afternoon. Fifty or so people came over that afternoon to celebrate and we enjoyed a delicious meal, cake and music provided by a man who sang and played accordion.

Me with Mama Juanita and her grandson that shares her birthday

blowing out the candles

with Rosa Maria

Mama Juanita with her birthday flowers

On Saturday Edson stopped by briefly on his way to Veracruz, so he got to meet my "Maltrata family" and get a quick tour of Maltrata (my little buddy Axel got so jealous!) Since he drove he was able to stop and take pictures of Maltrata from up above. The smoke is from the tabiqueras or galeras, where they make tabique (bricks).

We stopped by Aquila as well (the neighboring town), where there were some stands still set up from their fair the week before. There were some huehues out dancing as well, though definitely not as big of a turnout as I had seen in Maltrata the year before (you can see photos and videos here).

huehues in Aquila

Overall it was a great long weekend in Maltrata. I enjoyed visiting and, as always, spending time with my little buddies! I realized that Alex -- who I met the day he was born -- is now the age Axel was the first time I went to Maltrata. How times flies!

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