The first year I threw my own tamalada, I sought my mother’s advice beforehand. “Tamaladas are fun,” she said, “but not for the host.” I shrugged off her warning. When I was growing up, my mom and her six siblings gathered every winter to make tamales, rotating hosting duties from year to year. I remember having to clean my room and help my mom prep food before the thirty or so aunts, uncles, and cousins filled the house. But mostly my memories are of the warm smell of cumin and laughing so hard my cheeks hurt the next day.
My neighbor Jane is our family’s honorary third grandmother. When my wife and I feel overwhelmed by our jobs and our domestic responsibilities, she takes in our six-year-old daughter, teaching her to make paper dolls, offering help with her Spanish homework, and treating her to ice cream and candy.
In a 2006 episode of the television sitcom 30 Rock, the show’s heroine, Liz Lemon, threw a one-minute dance party for some of her onscreen coworkers. Their song of choice?
From time to time, I launch a campaign to deaccession or “depileate” some of the clutter that accumulates when one has lived more than thirty years in the same house. The library is too daunting to tackle, but the pie safe, stuffed with cookbooks, old Gourmet magazines, and a flutter of yellowed recipes torn from newspapers, seems doable.
The father of the 1015 Texas sweet onion stared at the salad bar, considering his options. I had come all the way to Atlanta to meet Leonard Pike, a 73-year-old former horticulture professor at Texas A&M University who’d founded the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center in 1992 and run it until his retirement, in 2006.
1. Romo Agonistes
A shot of tequila at the Lost Horse Saloon, in Marfa.
The liquor arrives at a warehouse in El Paso after crossing the Franklin Mountains on the way north.
Barrels line the walls at a distillery near El Arenal, Jalisco.
Q: While going to First Monday, in Canton, earlier this fall, we stopped and purchased East Texas purple hull peas (then in season) from a roadside farmers’ market. My question is whether or not these count for good luck, like black-eyed peas, if frozen and then cooked and eaten on New Year’s Day.
Mark Browning, via email
Christopher Scott planned it all from an uncomfortable state prison bed at the Coffield unit in East Texas, where he would kick back, listen to R&B and daydream. Some day the criminal justice system would recognize that he was not, in fact, a murderer. He would be exonerated, and he would work to save other wrongfully convicted people. He would fulfill his lifelong dream to open a men’s clothing store. He would live in a sprawling home with a swimming pool and a basketball court.
Movies don’t come much more anticipated than The Counselor,a twisty tale of drug dealing and backstabbing along the Texas border written by Cormac McCarthy, directed by Ridley Scott, and starring Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, and Michael Fassbender. Yet what on paper sounded like a sure thing turned out to be this fall’s most crushing disappointment.