Tamale Time!

Latest Station Takeover showcases Mexican food


Photo by Marina J. Powell

Andrea Velazquez-Juarez demonstrates tamale-making to students and faculty at the recent station takeover in the cafeteria.

Marina J. Powell, Assistant Editor

A recent station takeover in the cafeteria included a special dish–Tamales.

Mariya Dzhyoyeva, Assistant Professor of Modern Languages, and Andrea Velásquez, Foreign Language Teaching Assistant, organized a tamale-making event.

Originally, they planned to have the event to celebrate El Día de Reyes, which takes place on Jan. 6 each year to commemorate the three kings who came to honor the young Jesus Christ. While they had to modify their plans a bit, the event went smoothly and was enjoyed by many.

“Andrea and I first discussed the idea in connection with El Día de Reyes, the Spanish name for the celebration of Epiphany on January 6. Traditionally, Hispanic families bake La Rosca de Reyes, a dessert that looks and tastes similar to King Cake. Inside the cake, they hide some small plastic dolls, los niños, that represent the newborn Baby Jesus. The tradition mandates that the person who finds a baby in their slice of the cake make 50 tamales for the day of Our Lady of Purification and Candle, El Día de la Virgen de Candelaria, that is celebrated in February. While we all were on vacation for El Día de Reyes, I am glad we were able to get together now to make and share some great tamales,” Dzhyoyeva explained.

Velásquez and Dzhyoyeva set up tables and instructed participants on how to wrap the tamales using corn husks in order to prepare them for the oven.

“The best part, of course, was seeing our wonderful attendees, students, professors, and staff, and getting messy together while wrapping the tamales,” Dhzyoyeva recounted.

When students came and prepared the tamales, Velásquez agreed her favorite part of the event was making them,.”

We had fun with the process. I would have liked that more students had come because it was a great experience and it is something different for them,” she said.

For the most part, the event was well-received, prompting Dzhyoyeva to consider hosting similar station taekeovers with Aladdin in the future.

“I really hope that everyone enjoyed it as much as we did. I am grateful to everyone who came, helped us cook, and shared with us food and a great conversation. I would also like to say a big thank you to Levi Briggs and Aladdin Campus Dining for helping us with every aspect of this event. I hope this event becomes annual, and next time we get even more helping hands and more great stories to share,” she said.