Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mexican Peddler

Today's picture is from 1910, and it shows a Mexican Peddler. The man is selling water bottles which he carries on his back. This picture reminds me of our visits to Mexico in the 1960's. In the squares in towns there were Markets, and in the markets people had booths, and they sold things . . . fruit, vegetables, meat, leather goods and so forth. You name it, and someone would probably be selling it. I think back at that time most things in Mexico were exchanged through these markets, not retail stores. Actually, it was a unique and enjoyable shopping experience.

Domestic Update: 

OK, I know I promised you a Chickie Town update today, but I did not get any new pictures. Things were very busy around the house yesterday as we made Tamales.

Some of you may not be aware that I am generally known around the world as the "Tamale King". I get emails every day from all over the world from people with Tamale questions. You see, I built this WEB site that shows how to make tamales. The WEB site is full of witty and heartwarming information on making tamales. It gets a lot of visitors, and then those visitors write with questions. 

About this time of year each year, I start getting hundreds and hundreds of emails from women. The emails come from all over, but they are virtually identical. The woman says that she was somewhere and smelled something or heard something that reminded her of her grandmother (or mother in some cases). That she was then taken back to memories of making tamales with her grandmother around Christmas. The email then goes on to describe  all the smells, sounds, feelings and sights the person remembers about making tamales, and about the grandmother. The person then says she went on the internet to try and find a recipe for making tamales, and found my site. When reading my site she is really brought to tears as she thinks of her and her grandmother making tamales. She then describes how the site made her cry and cry.

The woman then describes how she is restarting the family tradition of making tamales at Christmas, as she wants her girls, or granddaughters to one day have such warm and wonderful memories of her.

So, my WEB site is helping bring families closer together, and helping people think back to old family traditions. Just one of the little things I do to make the world a better place.

OK, so I have gotten side tracked. Well, I guess the people over at Country Woman magazine were interested in doing a story on Tamale Making Traditions. So, they end up on my WEB site and call me and say they want to do a feature article on Tamale Making and were really touched by my WEB site. Then they realized that I was a man, and so they said the story could not be about ME making tamales, it would have to be about a woman making tamales. I responded that they should broaden their horizons, and that they were starting to sound like a Sexist organization. I suggested that they should consider an article on me making tamales, and the cover of the magazine could have a picture of me on my tractor driving out to the Bean Barn to collect the ingredients for the tamales. They responded that that would not be a good match for their demographics, and that possibly I should contact Tractor Dan's Farm Implement magazine with my idea. I told them I had already contacted Tractor Dan, but he thought my tractor would be too small to be of interest to his demographic. She said she was sorry, but in any case my idea was not going to fly in her magazine. She then had the gall to suggest that perhaps there would be a woman in my household that could be featured in the article making the tamales. I told her to "Pound Sand", and ended the conversation.

Well, Mrs. PJM was walking through at about the time I was telling the person to Pound Sand and hanging up the phone. Mrs. PJM asked who I was telling to Pound Sand this time. I told her nobody. Mrs. PJM claims I got a sheepish look on my face, so she demands details. I told her the folks at the magazine had called and then shot down my idea of a cover shot of me on the tractor going out to the greenhouse to get ingredients for tamales. Mrs. PJM suggested that perhaps a better response would have been for me to suggest that Mrs. PJM be featured in the article. I told here it was MY website. She responded that I had never made tamales in my life . . . that I eat them and SHE makes them. Have you ever noticed how women always throw little things like that in your face in an argument? They never see the bigger picture, that it was my witty and heartwarming stories that caught the magazines attention to begin with. Nonetheless, Mrs. PJM insists I call them back.

So, we get them on the phone again, and they describe what they are trying to do, and what the article would be. They were interested in a story showing generations of women getting together and making tamales for a tamale party. They decided that my mom, Mrs PJM, and EAM my daughter could be three generations making tamales. Then there would be other friends and family over, helping in the process. Now, they said they were interested in the story, but could not commit to doing it. There would be several factors determining whether they did it, and one of the most important factors would be if we could come up with a set of photographs of magazine quality. They were not quiet that blunt about it, but reading between the lines you could see that they could only do the story if there were good pictures of happy well adjusted people making tamales. Luckily, none of Mrs. PJM's tatoos show. JUST KIDDING . . . Mrs. PJM has no tattoos.

At this point I sort of get interested again, as I have always considered myself somewhat of a world class food photographer. I have always felt I had what it takes to play in the Big Leagues, and this would be my chance to show my stuff, by doing the photography work that was good enough for them to use in the magazine.

So, anyway, everyone got together yesterday to make the tamales, and I took the pictures. We now will send the pictures in, and the magazine will decide if they want to do the article. Below, I show one of the pictures I took. This is the Money Shot. Be sure to click on it to get a good look.

In the mean time, I will be enjoying the 15 dozen tamales they made yesterday.


  1. My mouth is watering from the photo and my eyes are watering from laughing so hard at the story.

    This one gives the 'pony' story a run for 1st place. They should let you write the copy for the magazine article, too.

  2. I noticed in the peddler photo that there is either a tall telephone pole or a electrical pole with cross arms on it.
    I guess I'm a little naive in thinking that they had neither in Mexico in 1910. Maybe a telegraph line, but the cross arms speak of more thatn one line of some sort.

    Love your tamale story, but I don't think they would let you write the copy for the story. After all your just a MAN.

    I am disappointed in "No Chickie Town today", but life goes on and there will be next Sunday.

  3. Thanks for a good laugh this AM. Really need it as we're due to get about an inch of snow an hour here for several hours at a time the next two days. Any snow there PJM :)

  4. The sun shines bright on my old Texas home this morning.

  5. Does it EVER snow where you live PJM? You are pretty far south aren't you? I however had the wonderful white knuckle experience of hauling a horse in a trailer over the most slick roads EVER!!! I was glad my husband was driving. I wasn't looking. HA

  6. Ah ha ha ha! "Pound sand"! Take that, sexist pigs! To be fair, Mrs. PJM does seem to have some valid points as to the making of said tamales but it is still your recipe. Alas, the world will have to wait to see a cover photo of the gentleman farmer who unites generations of families, especially at Christmas time, through his tamale recipe and website, riding upon his tractor.

    Make certain you get paid for the use of your photos when they use them, as I would not put it past them to omit the credit due you at this point. Tell Mrs. PJM to wear long sleeves to hide those tattoos.