Thursday, February 21, 2019

Nonpolitically Correct Tamales.

While I dislike getting into conversations/debates/arguments regarding religion and politics, current events push me into speaking up.  The term “political correctness” has been bandied about since the late 20th century and still shoved into faces of those who do not agree with the “majority”.  However, this term also has a definition dependent on who is wielding it about like a weapon.  Can anyone, not focused on the tumultuous events happening within our United States, truly know what the political correctness is all about?

Encyclopedia Britannica states, “Political correctness (PC), term used to refer to language that seems intended to give the least amount of offense, especially when describing groups identified by external markers such as race, gender, culture, or sexual orientation.”  To my thinking, this translates to, “Don’t say bad things about people who aren’t your clone.”  Simple, yes?  Until zealots began running willy-nilly with the term and basically trying to rewrite the English language to their own way of thinking.  Just my humble opinion of course.

Guess what?  Political correctness first appeared in Marx and Lenin vocabulary following the Russian Revolution of 1917; used to describe strict adherence to the policies and principles of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.  Now we all know how that turned out, not just for the people living under the USSR’s power, but for the world overall and the fear it created.

I bet you’re all wondering what point I’m trying to make and how it relates to a food column.  Whether politician, investment banker, card shark, miner, housewife, teacher, etcetera, etcetera; get an education on terminology, being thrown about, before jumping onto a bandwagon.  Just because someone enjoys lighting up a faggot (English term for a cigarette) doesn’t mean they find joy in burning a gay person at the stake.

“Before you can read me you gotta learn how to see me, I said.  Free your mind and the rest will follow.”   Free Your Mind by En Vogue

Now to cooking and how politically incorrect it can be.  Take for example the tamale and when one hears the term an automatic, “That’s Mexican!” comes to mind.  How dare you presume the word tamale designates an external marker for the Mexican culture!?!  Historically, tamales originated in Mesoamerica as early as 8000 to 5000 BC; Mesoamerica encompasses, yes Mexico, but also the Central and South Americas.  Tamale, a Spanish term that the exploring/invading/converting European-Spanish soldiers/monks/priests gave to a food created by Aztecs, Mayans and other Native American cultures within these areas.  As the Spanish traveled throughout the Caribbean, Guam and the Philippines, so did the recipe for tamales and giving rise to the use of banana leaves instead of corn husks.

Time for this Anglo’s political incorrectness in making tamales – no leaves, husks, rolling of ingredients inside or steaming.  My version is called “Tamale Pie” which can be fully cooked as a casserole in the oven, or a crock pot.

 Tamale Pie for the Oven


2 lbs. lean ground beef (90% lean or more)
1 large onion, diced
1 can (14.5 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14.5 oz.) creamed corn
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with green chiles (medium heat)
1 package (7 oz.) cornbread mix
1 package (12 oz.) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided in half


Preheat oven to 350F; spray a 3 quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large skillet, medium-high heat, brown the ground beef and diced onion together until there is no pink in the meat; drain excess oil.

In a large mixing bowl, add the black beans, creamed corn and tomatoes with chiles.

When beef and onions are ready, add the cornbread mix and half the cheese to the bowl; mix to break up any clumps in the cornbread mix.  Add the beef and onions and mix until all is incorporated well.

Spread the mixture into the dish; bake for 25 minutes.  Spread other half of cheese over the casserole; return to oven for another 15 minutes.

Makes 8 servings.


 Tamale Pie for the Crock Pot


Double up on all ingredients listed under “For the Oven” version, except use whole kernel corn, instead of creamed corn. 


Using non-stick cooking spray, lightly spray the inside of a 6-quart crock pot.

Brown the beef and onion together as described in that recipe.  Mix with the black beans, corn, tomatoes with chiles; place inside the crock pot.

Prepare the cornbread mix according to package directions (I use one (15 oz.) box of Krusteaz Honey Cornbread mix only); spread over meat/veggie mixture in crock pot.  Spread cheese evenly overall.  Cover with lid, set on low and let cook for 4-5 hours; until cornbread/cheese is a golden, cheesy, melted yumminess. 

12-14 servings.

Hola la revolución!

Mary Cokenour

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