It seems almost impossible that I was in need of this "bear" just last Saturday night. It was New Year's Eve - James and I had gone to our comadre's house to help her make tamales. I put this on before we went outside to chat. Fire was ready, cashews had been nibbled, and some of us - not me - had enjoyed the fruit of the vine. Well, I had enjoyed a single shot of tequila, but it really was a very small shot.
The warmth of the company and the "bear" made the night sky wonderfully inviting. I guess our comadre's neighbors, who typically enjoy rap music must have been at a friend's house or at a concert, because we wer able to fill the cool night air with music by Lhasa, Lila Downs, Louis Prima, Los Tres Panchos, and some folks who were definitely from New Orleans.
The scent of the night air and a fresh fire - cool air chilling the face but not the bones. Yum.
After a long, l-o-n-g hour the tamales were ready. In we came to an elegant table: joined by my comadre's 86 year old mother. We compared and contrasted common versus new names of the early 20th century; Plutarco vs. Manuel, Philomena vs. Hortensia, Agapito vs. José. Well, it may have been closer to late 19th century, but the conversation was filled with laughter.
The masa of the tamales was smooth and light, the chile was just spicy enough. Laughter and shared memories can make food taste better.
Which brings me to resolutions. None were made that night, food was enjoyed guilt-free. It was part of the pleasure of ending a year and starting a new one with loved ones.
I give up.
I am used to sharing menudo or tamales with friends and family on December 31st and January 1st. And a couple of days after. Usually I mean to start eating right on the new year. Never successful doing so.
This year I'll resort to good habits on Epiphany. Yeah, January 6th, a good day to start...after the tamales are gone.