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Making Colombian Tamales

colombian tamal

Every Christmas, my mother-in-law and her siblings gather to make Tamales Tolimenses, a traditional Colombian food. It takes time. They go to the market to buy fresh chicken, meat and veggies, they clean and prepare the plantain leaves, they grind the cornmeal. They wash and cut until it is time to cook. Then everything is put in pans and pots, boiled and seasoned, cooked to perfection. When the ingredients are ready, they assemble the tamales. It is a labor of love.

But it is more than food. It’s a family, people crowding in and running around, laughter, whiskey, everyone helping where they can. It’s tradition. I wanted to capture this special ritual in photos this year, for my daughters.

I hope that in these photos you can feel a little piece of Colombian culture.

colombian tamal
colombian tamal

A special thanks to my husband’s family for putting up with me and my camera, and for understanding why I wanted to create these photos.