Relationship: Child of im/migrant

Every New Year’s Eve, my mother and my Tia Melissa sit us down around the kitchen table and teach us the incredibly laborious process of making tamales. Tamales are truly a labor of love from the women in your family to everyone else; the older I get (and the more dishes I end up having to do), the more I realize this. It’s not so much about the tamales themselves (although they’re amazing), but the sense of community, love and sharing that comes from making them. My fondest memories come from those long afternoons and nights. America— and especially my part of upstate New York where most people think of Mexicans as dirty, uneducated and criminal— is not always an easy place to navigate, and coming together to share in the love of your language, culture, and food represents so much more than one night of fun. Tamales represent a tradition of sharing, loving, providing for and growing with each other, and is something that extends far beyond my family’s time in America. This tradition powerfully reminds me of the legacy of those people who came before me, and what they have done to put me where I am today. While more of a tradition than a singular object, the full pot of tamales reminds me to keep my heritage, family and community close.

Year: 1970

– Adriana

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant