Why Are Tamales So Popular in Texas During the Holidays?

Hint: it’s all about family.

By Becky FogelDecember 8, 2016 11:17 am,

If you’ve lived in Texas long enough to experience the holiday season here, you probably know about a tradition we have: tamales. Tamales are different from tacos, and yet, there are certain similarities, which is why we have asked the expert on all things taco in Texas, Mando Rayo, taco journalist and co-author of The Tacos of Texas, to tell us about this taco-adjacent dish.

“We have a very important category, that we use: #TacoCousins. … Tacos come in all types of variation whether it’s a pupusa from Central America or an arepa or empanada,” Rayo says. “But of course, this is the holiday season – so what’s the best thing to unwrap during the holidays? A really good tamale.”

Rayo says the most important ingredient for good tamales is bringing the whole family together.

“When you make tamales, it’s a cultural tradition. … It’s an experience for sure, and it’s multi-generational,” he says. “So if you grew up in Texas, you grew up participating in a tamalada – basically that process of making the tamales.”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– Why tamales are so popular during the holiday season

– Where to get tamales if you’re not having a tamalada this year, and how many to order

– What variations of tamales you’ll find across the state