This holiday season isn't the same without my Abuela and my Aunt Emy. As many of you know both they passed this past summer. Their absence is especially difficult this year since it is the first holiday without them.
I truly miss my abuela's disapproving eye when I put too little meat or too much rice in a tamale. Despite my lack of knowledge regarding tamale stuffing ratios, the final product was always yummy and the memories priceless. I'd like to think she found my antics amusing but for her tamales were serious business. So it was more likely that she put up with it all for the extra hands.
My aunt never really got in on the action. Her job was to tie the tamales together (pina) for cooking. And she took her job seriously. So there were a few giggles but mostly her task driven accountant mind focused on tying tight knots with a little decorative bow.
I miss them so much.