“The tamale is a very precious dish, with great connotations in the indigenous culture; it is a millenary legacy of pre-Columbian times that managed to survive the miscegenation during the Colony ”.
With these words, Dayana Morales, anthropologist and archaeologist at the Cultural Heritage Center, describes the cultural and heritage value represented by a dish that, year after year, is part of the delicacies of Costa Rican tables at Christmas time: the tamale.
The base of this traditional dish is corn, so its preparation for this time responds to the abundance of this product. As part of the Costa Rican agricultural tradition, its production for self-consumption in plots and farms was common. Corn has two crops; the last of the year is in November and December, which allows Costa Rican families to eat a delicious tamale.
The tamaleada. When the arms are tired of stirring the dough on the fire or wood stove, and the meat gives off a delicious smell that invites a “taste”, the “tamaleada” begins, the name given to the process of preparing tamales, in which requires many hands to get ahead with this task.
Anyone who participated in a tamaleada knows that it is a complex preparation, therefore, it implies planning the purchases of ingredients, the space -which is often an open place, or the patio of the house-, who is going to prepare them and even the appropriate utensils for the task.
“Even the pots commonly used do not work for this, so the term ‘la pot tamalera’ is known; It is the largest pot that is reserved for cooking tamales or the meat pot, which are dishes for many people. The tamaleada implies planning ahead, which is why it became an event of family tradition, ”said Dayana Morales.
Morales defined certain roles that occur during the preparation of tamales. The tasks are distributed among family members and that kind of chain production is formed, which is more efficient.
“Participating in the family tamaleada allows the transmission of knowledge linked to traditional cuisine, as well as recognizing the important role of the family as responsible for the safeguarding, not only of the family recipe, but also of one of the most cultural manifestations. loved by Costa Ricans ”, highlighted the official of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Unit.