How to have a great tamale making party!

Last Saturday Mario had a tamale making party at his house. (And I've been told that officially it should be tamal singular and tamales plural but I think in English it's now officially or unofficially tamale in singular.)

About 20 people showed up to help make tamales. Most of us novice cooks but expert tamale consumers, and ready to learn all about tamale making.


First, Mario mixed the masa in a commercial size kitchen aid that made Frank jealous.


He claims he uses the recipe on the back of the corn flour bag, but I'm here to tell you that he randomly adds lard, baking soda and chicken broth. They turned out awesome, but I'd be afraid to try it at home.



This what the masa looked like when done. And no, none of the tequila went into the masa.


Then we formed two assembly lines and got a quick lesson. First the masa on the corn husks. Mario pointed out that in previous years people have put a lot of masa on the corn husks and that means the tamales take hours and hours to cook. I think people took it to the other extreme – I got a few tamales that were mostly meat! (Still yummy!)


Two lines, one on each side of the table:


Then you put the meat on. Everybody brought some meat. I think we were all supposed to follow the recipe, but I know for a fact that Frank, like Mario, improved on it.


Then you fold them up. 


And wrap them in wax paper.


And somebody has to hold them in the pan – I got this important job for a while.


And then you cart the pans away – we made two freezers full of tamales!

And don't forget to have an occasional beer to keep you going.


And Mario's wife was busy the whole time making the most delicious beans and rice to eat with the fresh tamales. Oh, and guacamole. She makes a mean guacamole.


We wrapped up the afternoon with a birthday party for the Japanese exchange student staying with one of the families. (This was our two year old's favorite part.)


She got some help blowing out her candles.


It was a great day and we have some awesome tamales in the freezer to prove it.

About Stormy Peters

My name is Stormy Peters. You can
contact me by sending email to stormyscorner — at — You can also leave a comment on any post
where you have something to say!

I currently work as the executive director of the GNOME
. I also am an advisor for HFOSS, OpenSource World, IntraHealth Open and OpenLogic, as well as founder and president of Kids on Computers, a nonprofit organization setting up computer labs in developing countries.

I do a lot of public speaking. For more information about the topics
I speak on, see my speaking resume. You can also see me speak at:

I am passionate about learning, books, technology and open source
software. I read a lot, travel a lot and I never pass up an opportunity to learn something new.

I have two boys – an eight year old and a two year old – who keep me
entertained. My boyfriend does lots of interesting things like cooking,
hunting, pickling and building stuff – you can find his blog at Life of
a Hunter

You can also find me on twitter (@storming) and LinkedIn.

Cows on the road!

This is what I ran into this morning. Only the cows I ran into were white. And there were more than 30 of them. And they were running. (I really have to start carrying my camera with me!)

Photo by Cameron Maddux.

Cameron_MadduxI ended up driving slowly through the cows to pull up to the house that looked like they might belong to. As I pulled up, a woman came running out with her cell phone in one hand and her keys in the other. She ran to her car and drove straight across the road and into the field – in front of the cows that were making a break for it. Shortly afterwards, three pickup trucks came careening across the field and all the cows were shooed back into the right field. I asked if they needed any (inexpert) help and they said they were good.

(I hope she got her car out of the field ok but I suppose the three pickup trucks will help if she's stuck.)

I feel like it should be an exciting day now!

One Laptop Per Child in the US

I’ve been thinking about setting up a program where a school in the States gets a laptop for every child in the school and a school in Mexico gets a laptop for ever child. They’d then be sister schools and you could set up email penpals and so on.  I’ve had several computer savvy teachers offer to help. Now it looks like kids in Birmingham are all going to get OLPCs!

The mayor of Birmingham, Ala.,
Larry Langford, had the […] thought and the result is that the city
will be deploying 15,000 OLPCs to its school system.

will be given to all first- through eighth-graders in the city’s school
system. Some of the computers are expected to be deployed as early as
March, with the rest to follow by the beginning of the 2008-9 school
year. The first of these small Linux laptops will be used in pilot
programs as teachers get up to speed on these computers.

I wonder when they will get them. I’m still waiting for the one I bought on Christmas Day … Speaking of orders and execution, OLPC is now hiring a CEO.

Social networking for babies

Here’s a business idea I think will work because I was looking for one and thought about starting it myself.  It’s social networking for babies. Mothers create profiles for themselves and their babies. They can connect to friends and record milestones like first step, first solid food, etc. I bet moms will love comparing their baby to others. I kept looking up milestones in the books to see when I could expect them and how my kid was doing.

Plus anything that helps connect new moms with other moms is a good thing. It’s not easy to find other moms interested in the same things you are.

Why do we dream?

Psychology Today has a really interesting article about a theory of dreaming that’s gaining populartiy.  We dream to prepare for dangerous situations.  When you have a nightmare, you are rehearsing, in case it ever happens in real life. 

The dreaming brain, explains Revonsuo, scans emotional memories. When
it detects a memory trace with a strong negative emotion, it constructs
a nightmare around that theme. The more traumatic the event, the more
intense the nightmare. The brain’s system for detecting threats is
sensitive and flexible: Anything the brain tags with a strong negative
charge gets thrown into the threat bin and dredged up at night.

And if you watch horror movies, your brain will also help you prepare for that happening to you in real life.  Interesting.   I quit reading those best selling horror books because they gave me nightmares.  Guess I won’t be prepared for being stalked, kidnapped and tortured!

What to do when your shirt doesn’t meet your pants …


Have you noticed lately, that shirts don’t often meet pants?  So there’s a gap in between?  Well, now there’s a solution, hip-T.  It’s a really short tube top that you wear under your shirt, over your jeans.

I guess the hip-t might be a handy thing to have (I switched the shirt I was going to wear today because the shirt didn’t meet the pants) – but I’d rather they just went back to making shirts longer or pants higher …

Sam’s Club

I bought my own membership to Sam’s Club today and spent $391 in less than an hour.  Not a thing more will fit in our fridge or in either of our freezers.  Frank says I’m not allowed to go there alone again.  (And this is after I bought diapers, toilet paper, paper towels, detergent, etc from Amazon’s Subscribe & Save!)

Building a huge koi pond

We were going to help move a 600 pound koi pond.  I thought we’d pick up some little pool and put it in a hole in the ground.  Turns out the rubber sheet alone was 600 pounds!  It was 40′ by 50′!