Food is a huge part of any culture; it brings people together and holds special meaning. This is why one of the biggest challenges in getting patients to eat under a new set of rules is to find ways for them to do so while still being in line with their culture. Now, it is a lot easier to do so in this day and age, where it has become very trendy to make foods that are labeled as “gluten-free” or “paleo.” People can now have things that fit their diets even when time commitments and lack of cooking talents could have stopped them. However, some of these food items might be cost-prohibitive to certain families, and this is where a little research can go a long way.
How did this all come up in the first place, you might ask? Well, you see, over the holiday break, I was invited to a Three Kings’ Day party. The holiday, celebrated in the Spanish Christian tradition, marks the arrival of the three kings after the birth of Jesus. At the Kings’ Day party, I was served a bread called Rosca de Reyes in which a small plastic baby Jesus was hidden. Whoever finds the baby gets to host the next party for Dia De La Candelaria another holiday that marks the end of the Christmas season. I found the baby! Now there is a lot more involved in this than I have mentioned, and I cannot pretend to be an expert in this area. This was, after all, my first time being included in these traditions. There is a lot of interesting reading to be found out there you would like to know more about this.
So, I needed to have a party. Traditionally tamales are served on this day and you can’t have tamales without champurrado. With corn being a primary ingredient in both of these things, a search for recipe ideas to make a meal that fit the dietary restrictions of everyone who would be in attendance was necessary.
Now in general, I am pretty bad about recipes, I like to cook intuitively, picking an ingredient and running with it, adjusting as I go. I don’t have a specific recipe to share with you at this time because of that, but I will link some of the websites that I used for reference below. I decided to make a portion of the tamales for the part with food-processed cauliflower, some cheese, and an assortment of grain-free flours, mainly cassava and tapioca because they are stickier. I had to play with adding water and flour to the mixture to reach the right consistency. While despite being really good at eating them, I am also not an expert in the making of tamales.
Thankfully, I had the help of Judith Mier, another National student in our MSOM program, to make sure we were well prepared for the party. The end verdict was that the grain-free tamales were so well loved that there were none left by the end of the party! The leftover corn-based ones are now in my freezer for snacking.
Here are some of the sites I looked at: