Saturday, December 6, 2008

I kissed a tamale

I danced with the item today - quite spontaneously - and as spontaneously, I kissed it.

It's the cornhusk from a tamale. I suppose I was actually dancing with and actually kissed the tamale, rather than the cornhusk wrapper, but the tamale proper is long gone. And I didn't wait to document it before I ate it.

I warmed it and devoured it almost immediately after the spontaneous dance and smooch. My God, was it delicious.

Why am I telling you this? Because the experience is replicable. This was a commercially available tamale. You can buy them, individually or bulk, at El Cid, 7168 Manchester in Maplewood, across from Cusamano's.

I didn't buy mine, however. It was a gift of local artist Robert Goetz. On Monday we worked on a poetry score to The Sydney Highrise Variations by Les Murray. After the session, we finished a final beer in the Goetz kitchen. In a mishmash of other topics, he waxed rhapsodic about a tamale experience.

Apparently, his parents visited recently from Goetz's native San Antonio. They brought tamales with them, thoughtfully - a taste of home, for the boy. But Goetz produced his El Cid tamales, and the elder Goetzes had to recognize that they had traveled all the way north to Missouri packing San Antonio tamales only to experience a superior tamale.

Their San Antonio tamales were not bested by a gringo tamale (not to take anything away from gringo tamales - I love me a good gringo tamales). When I drove by the place to get the address to tell you all about El Cid and its tamales, the place was closed, but I could see "Centroamericano" on the window. So these folks are probably Salvadorean or Guatemalan, certainly Central American.

I'll know for sure after I go to El Cid's and pick up my own bulk order, which I will do soon, since this cornhusk had enwrapped what was my last Goetz-gifted tamale. This, in turn, explains the dance and kiss.

I was given four tamales - two pork, two cheese-and-jalapeno - before I left Goetz's kitchen on Monday. The next day, I ate three of them and saved one.

And lost it.

Days passed. No tamale.

Not at work. Not at home. No tamale.

How does a grown man lose a tamale? I don't know. But I did. I lost it.

And, then, I found it, in the fridge, up by the butter tray, where I never put anything.

I found it. I danced with it. I kissed it.

Then I ate it.

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