Los Tucsonenses know: The kitchen in heaven is where green corn tamales come from.
The unique, melt-in-your-mouth tamales are among the delicacies of genuine Sonoran cuisine -- along with menudo blanco and paper-thin flour tortillas.
That green corn tamales usually are available only in late summer, when the white corn is ripe and the green chiles are at their sweetest, makes them even more desirable and delicious.
My mom and my tias worked every August and September on big batches of tamales. We kids were the laborers, husking the corn, cutting the kernels and taking them to the molino at the Chinese market down the street. The result was masa, the corn meal that is at the root of all tamales.
From them, my mom fashioned the tamales, with a little manteca, cheese and roasted chiles. After an hour or so of steaming, we were gorging ourselves on the delicious tamales, accompanied by fresh-made beans.
For the first time ever, I tried to replicate that recipe on my own on Sunday, buying white corn, green chiles and good Jack cheese at the farmers' market. A small batch -- just four cups of corn kernels -- produced 10 tamales. They were a bit coarse, but the authentic flavor came through.
Ah, green corn tamales as my mom made them. They come from heaven's kitchen.