|Tamale cart in Mexico City|
|Market stall selling Uchepos|
in Morelia, Michoacan
|Corundas in Pátzcuaro, Michoacan|
|A steaming tamalera full of|
Fast forward 12 years. Living in Mexico, I 'rediscovered' tamales. In the mornings, women offer them from steaming tamaleras on street corners, even from the open front door of their homes; in Mexico City they're offered from shopping carts and tricycles, the tamalera swaddled in blankets on cooler days. This is grassroots commerce at its finest and most flavorful. In Oaxaca, chicken with rich black mole is wrapped in banana leaves; in Michoacán, corundas of masa blended with fresh corn are wrapped into tricornered packages of fresh corn leaves, and then there are uchepos, a steamed "dough" made very simply from the sweet corn in season and served with crema or natas (according to Diana Kennedy, comparable to clotted cream) Both are regional kin to the tamal.
|Alicia's Tamales los Mayas- prepped for|
San Francisco Street Food Festival Aug 2011
|Alicia spreading masa with a|
culinary student volunteer
Now living in the Bay Area with her husband and children, Alicia makes tamales to help sustain her family and to share her love of this traditional street food. For her and many other food entrepreneurs like her, the food business incubator La Cocina provides essential resources, from practical business planning to a commercial kitchen. As their client, Alicia was able to realize her dream of serving her tamales from a "traditional" tamale cart–that is, a cart that maintains that traditional cultural attitude, yet meet the food-safety and legal specs of a city like San Francisco. It was with the assistance of La Cocina that she was able to raise funds through Kickstarter to, well, kick-start the whole thing.
|Alicia's Tamales los Mayas in Justin Herman Plaza|
That's how all the best food should be.