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The Meaning of the Word Volume VII

Posted by Dr. Nelva Lee on Dec 6, 2019 8:15:00 AM
Dr. Nelva Lee

Tamales is a staple food throughout Central and South America. It is traditionally served during the holidays and takes hours to prepare. As a kid the smell of fresh tamales in the kitchen could rouse me from the deepest sleep. 


Tamales however is prepared differently depending on what region you are from. For example, I am from Panama and our tamales are made from a corn meal base that is seasoned just right, it is then stuffed with chicken or pork, sauteed vegetables and raisins. The tamales are then wrapped in banana leaves and boiled for hours. The result is yummy goodness perfection. 


Puerto Ricans have a similar dish that instead has mashed green bananas or plantains as the base and prepared very similarly from there they call it “Paideia.” And of course you are probably thinking about the “Tamales” from Mexico, that are corn based but flat and thin, and not stuffed at all. 


All of this to say, we all have our favorite, traditional dishes that we long to eat during the holidays. These dishes remind us of a time of innocence, when the world was simpler and friendlier. These dishes takes us back to that time and rekindles those feelings.


For me, Tamales reminds me of my Christmas Eve and the many friends, family and neighbors that would come by our home and bring in Christmas. Tamales has a creamy exterior and a decadent interior, it is a dish unlike any other, it has no substitutes. It takes time to prepare, but it is so worth the wait,


What is your favorite holiday dish? What memories does it revive in you? Do you have a similar dish to my Panamanian Tamales? If so, what is it called, what is the different ingredient?


Now it’s your turn. Do you agree with the analysis above? Why or Why not? Please explain in the comments section below. Do you have a story of a word choice that tripped you up? Or a story of an interpretation gone awry? If so, share with us at


Dr. Nelva Lee, is the CEO and Founder of MiTio Inc. an Accredited Online Certificate and Diploma Program for Medical and Legal Interpreters and Translators. MiTio Inc. is also an Interpreting Agency specializing in delivering VRI and OPI to over 200 languages to include ASL with our state of the art interpreting platform accessible via any device to include smartphones.

Topics: Medical Interpreter, Medical Interpreting, education, MiTio Family