Creating is My Mojo

There is a long and involved story behind Cinco de Mayo for my family. It involves an insane woman I had never met before and an assault on my husband. The results were many fold. That day, six years ago, the immediate result was police involvement, a standoff, an arrest and hours in the emergency room. Short term, there was the loss of a good job, recuperation, paranoia, fear, anger, and restraining orders. As time went on there were court dates, lawyers, guilty verdicts and arbitration.

The long term result, in my opinion, was the loss of my husbands grasp on the life we had forged for 20 years. Something about the event, whether it was the trauma itself, the depression from losing his job after being assaulted (by a woman, no less. and yes, that is a big deal for his psyche), the paranoia that comes from not being able to make sense of the event, or if it was just the catalyst for something that was coming anyway, I will never know. I just know that was the beginning of the end. The end of life as we knew it.

After a few years, we being who we are, tried to make the anniversary of the date something else. We began to celebrate Happy Stick Day. We would ply Mr. Vixen with margaritas, fill a pinata with candy, blindfold him and let him whack the crap out of it. Retaliation. Anger management. Putting a fun face on a sad day.

Last year we missed Happy Stick Day. This year I felt the need to mark it again. Even though it is a weekday. (That really doesn’t matter to me right now, being unemployed, ha ha…sorry kids). So we have a pinata and a big stick. We will be making margaritas. As always, I decided I wanted to take it another step further this time. I just can’t seem to stop myself. I am an over-achiever. So I am making tamales. I don’t know anyone who has made tamales. I have never made tamales. I read all about it yesterday and cooked the meat last night. This morning by 8am, I was walking to the local tortilleria down the street to purchase husks (yes walk, remember: dead car).

It is now Day 2, Hour 3.5. I will tell you what this little Irish cook as learned: It looks hard on paper. BUT IT IS HARDER in real life. So far, I have broth, meat and soaked husks.

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The meat was cooked overnight in the crockpot with 2 onions and 6 cloves of garlic. While the meat cooled I pureed the onion/garlic in the food processor and added it back to the broth and seasoned with some chili powder and salt. I then shredded the meat (can you say, time consuming?) and seasoned with a bunch of chili powder, some cumin, some salt and some of the broth (with most of the pureed stuff). I have no idea what I am doing. I am sorta (not) following a recipe. I am off now to attempt the tamale dough and the creating of the tamales themselves. I am highly enjoying myself, but I do have doubts that there will be anything to eat tonight.

Wish me luck!


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  1. I think turning the bad things into celebrations is a great idea. I like getting involved in big cooking projects, too – but not cleaning up after them!!!

    Tammy’s last blog post..Cinco de Mayo

  2. Wow, good for you! And if it doesn’t work out, just dump the meat over some torn lettuce, add some salsa, tomatoes and fried mushrooms (and tortilla chips if you want, and you’ll have tamale salad!
    I’m sorry this day wasn’t always a good one. some people don’t realize the impact they can have on others – that woman is an idiot and you and your husband are great survivors!

    Meghann’s last blog post..Tuesday’s Treasures: A New Ring!

  3. The pinata idea for taking out frustration on stick day is a brilliant one!

    Good luck with your tamales and thanks SOOOOOOOO much for further torturing me in my sudden and intense tamale craving. Mmmm tamalas…I neeeeeeeeeeeed some!

    Lesley’s last blog post..Razorback Flu?

  4. Mar

    I think that is the reason when people do make tamales they make a zillon at a time :). You are braver than I, I would not even begin to attempt it.

    I am sorry that this happened to Mr. Vixen.

    Someday we can share crazy stories (MIL has had some wacko boyfriends!) over a nice cold beer.

  5. Dear God, are you there? It’s us, Vixen and Nancy. Who is having a worse week, of the two of us?

    (I do not know how God would answer that one. Prolly, Both of youse, now get out of here! hahaha.)

    Go leave a msg on Steve’s blog and tell him to share his tamale recipes with you — our tradition is to have them for Christmas or New Year’s. They take ALL DAY to make but turn out great. We do them veggie — with sweet potatoes or beans, but the carne sounds delicious, too.

    ps i love you.

    Wacky Mommy’s last blog post..Wacky Cake, Starlight Yellow Cake, Coconut Cake

  6. I like your outlook on things. Your sense of humor…. A blessing!

  7. I’ve heard an expression “hot tamale” before, but never knew where that came from. Now I know :o) Good luck with cooking that one.

  8. gawd that looks GOOD!

  9. I love how you’ve turned this day from what it was into family time and a celebration! I hope your tamales turn out well, and that you enjoy the (sounds like a long drawn out) process.


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