American Sandwiches, the Christmas Tamale edition

Kristin Devine

Kristin has humbly retired as Ordinary Times' friendly neighborhood political whipping girl to focus on culture and gender issues. She lives in a wildlife refuge in rural Washington state with too many children and way too many animals. There's also a blog which most people would very much disapprove of

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10 Responses

  1. J_A says:

    Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese (I’m of the opinion that there is no such thing as too much cheese

    I, too, am of the opinion that there is no such thing as too much cheese. Family and friends know I sprinkle spaghetti on my shredded cheese.

    But I am also of the opinion that there is no such thing as an American Cheese. All I see is petrochemical refinery products dyed yellow and pressed into cubes, hence my question:

    Have you tried replacing the Shredded Pepper Jack Something with Mexican or Central American white soft cheeses like Oaxaca cheese or Queso Fresco? If you have, did it work ?Report

    • George Turner in reply to J_A says:

      I love making tamales. Sometimes I confuse Americans by referring to one as a “tamal”, which is the Spanish singular of “tamales”. “Tamale” is an American back formation from the Spanish plural.

      Many years ago I’d made several batches that tasted nasty, and I couldn’t figure out what went wrong. A year or so later I realized that the lard I’d used had gone rancid sitting on my shelf, since I don’t use lard for much of anything else and it was several years old.


      • atomickristin in reply to George Turner says:

        Oh yes I left that part of the story out, but I had some rancid lard (only a couple months old, which was weird) which was why I ended up using the instant masa. Sometimes lard is easy to find, other times it goes missing (or it’s been moved) and I couldn’t find a replacement in time to encorporate the pig butter into the meal.

        Thanks for reading!Report

    • Maribou in reply to J_A says:

      @j_a You know Pepper Jack is generally speaking not petro-chemical, not yellow, and not pressed, yes? It was invented by Mexican-American Franciscan friars, for Pete’s sake :D.

      A fellow hater of that non-cheese “American cheese” crap.

      PS that said, queso fresco is a delight.Report

      • atomickristin in reply to Maribou says:

        Hey, thanks for this comment. I was really not sure how to respond because I thought “man if pepper jack cheese is American, I guess I really don’t know what American cheese even is!” Appreciate it.Report

    • atomickristin in reply to J_A says:

      I’m sure it would be really really good with the authentic cheeses. I haven’t tried it but I bet it’s delicious.Report

  2. dragonfrog says:

    Until the end of this essay, I had you figured for one of those sandwich anarchists who take the broadest views on the ‘what is a sandwich’ question. Fur the sandwich that gifts this piece iron the series is not the take itself, but the mother-in-law and the Darlene.

    For the record, if you’d asserted that the tamale itself deserves to be considered a sandwich, I’d’ve backed you.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to dragonfrog says:

      Wow autocorrect did a number on that offer.

      Second sentence should read something like:
      But I see the sandwich that gets this piece into the series is not the tamale itself, but the mother-in-law and the Darlene.Report

      • atomickristin in reply to dragonfrog says:

        Yes exactly – the Mother In Law sandwich is the point of the piece, or at least the part that puts it into American-Sandwich-dom. I thought it would be fun to talk a little about tamales since they’re interesting, geographical, and historical in that context. 🙂 Thanks for commenting!Report

  1. May 30, 2020

    […] a lot here, and there is bread involved, and that’s good enough for me. After all, I once wrote a sandwich article about tamales, so if you’re wanting a very high standard of sandwich purity, you’re probably not gonna find […]Report