Tamales, for me, have always been a community effort. The task of making them is gruelling, lasting at least 2 full days. When I was growing up, my immidiate family would come together with extended family every December to make light of the effort. We would convene at someone’s house, usually the biggest because it was a lot of us, from sun up to sun down. Everyone from grandparents to preschoolers took part in the effort. We’d be gathered around a big table with a task for everyone. There would be jokes, gossiping, singing, just all matter of chatter. The kids would eventually tire and off to the races we’d go. When we were done, each family would take home enough tamales to have a tamal dinner for a month. We stopped the gatherings when I was on the cusp of childhood and teenagehood, but I always remember them as an example of women coming together in community to get a task done that would be insurmountable alone.