Friday, March 27, 2009

It's all about the olive in the middle

Judah has a favorite food. No other food comes close. He will scream this sad, painful howl if he runs out of bites too quickly. It's his "tamale wail."

Let me explain it a bit. Judah's mouth opens wide and it sounds like an angry scream, but his eyes have such sadness in them. It's like watching his heart break a little. When it first happened I thought he was terribly hurt. I actually panicked, making sure there was no blood. We tried offering him different kinds of food, even some favorites, but this just seemed to aggravate the situation. Finally, when his dad raised his tamale-loaded fork, Judah dramatically leaned and loudly grunted (there was no time and emotions were too high for words). He was instantly elated. On a tamale high.
Running out of's a dramatic and sad, sad story.

My Auntie Marina fed Jude his first tamale on Christmas. He was instantly hooked. I vividly remember watching his first bites (I was given a mommy break and was simultaneously enjoying mine). It was beautiful.

Every family I know makes tamales a little differently. We place an olive in the middle. It has to be there. Isn't the same without it. Yes, there is an olive controversy. No, you cannot change my mind. Omitting the olive is like offering someone a Cracker Jax box without the prize. Generally, olives are not my favorite food. But, a tamale without an olive? That's just crazy chatter.

Tamales. You know what's inside, but it's still like unwrapping a present. They are about family. Why? A family effort went into making them. You eat them on super-special-fuzzy-days, like Christmas. They are warm, smell good, and just eating them means that someone loved you enough to put in the effort to make them. They are more than food.

Do you know how happy it makes his Mexican Mama that Judah completely gets that?


Lori said...

Love not "private", love the new look... I'll have to catch up on your posts since they didn't come up in my reader!!! <3

susan said...

Grandma's home and on board!
Love you!

Debra Brunner said...

I too believe in the virtue of the olive. As a life-long fan of this most misunderstood fruit (yes, it is a grows on trees...check wikipedia), I think it's been important historically and culturally for millenia. Where else can we get EVOO??? You can stuff them with delicacies like cheeses and garlic (blue cheese is my fav stuffer). AND they're just plain fun to eat. How many other foods can you put at the end of each finger??? I discovered this particular virtue when I was around Judah's age. So...way to go Judah!!! I'm glad you like your tamales, but most especially that you appreciate the olive in the middle! :) xxxoooo Debra :)

Rebecca said...

I'm so glad you're back in the public world!

Too cute that Judah has the tamale cry :)