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Tamales are made of spiced chopped meat on a bed of masa (a dough made from water and ground corn), rolled up in corn husks or banana leaves and then boiled or steamed. Tamales are an ancient Native American dish that is at least 5,000 years old.

They were served by the Aztecs to Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez, and in 1612 Captain John Smith described them as made by Native Americans of Virginia:

    'Their corne they rost in the eare greene, and bruising it in a morter of wood with a Polt; lappe it in rowles in the leaves of their corne, and so boyle it for a daintie.'




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