Photo by Lorena Angulo, www.lorenaangulo.com
© Lorena Angulo, 2009

Coming off the recent success of its haunted house, La Union Cívica Mexicana is preparing for its next big event, the first annual Tamale Taste-Off.  Tamales are a traditional food during the Christmas season.  For many people, it is the one time of year they make tamales. "At my house, we make a whole lot and then freeze them to have throughout the year," explains Maggie Yrlas, La Union Cívica Treasurer.  President José Arellano adds, "This time of year you start to see a lot of people come into places like El Rancho Grande and carry out dozens of tamales."  At the Taste-Off, people will be able to sample and vote on tamales from various restaurants, purchase tamales, and place holiday orders.  There will also be a holiday arts and crafts bazaar. 

"Everyone's throwing a brunch now, so we needed new ideas. There are two ways to a man's heart: tortillas and tamales. And we can't have a tortilla taste-off"

La Union Cívica Mexicana is a community organization that will celebrate its 65th year in March 2010.  After a few quiet years and with membership dwindling, La Union Cívica has undergone a rebirth with new leadership and younger people with fresh ideas getting involved.  In the past year, the group has been more active than ever.  They began hosting a monthly brunch to raise money for the Cinco de Mayo parade.  While the brunches have been very successful, the organization wanted to try something new.  Vice President Larry J. Rodarte says, "Everyone's throwing a brunch now, so we needed new ideas.  There are two ways to a man's heart: tortillas and tamales.  And we can't have a tortilla taste-off," he adds with a laugh.

At the Tamale Taste-Off, local restaurants and caterers will not only be competing for bragging rights, they will also be awarded with a plaque boasting "Best Tamales" and a free full-page advertisement in Mi Gente

The event runs from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 29th, and takes place at La Union Cívica Mexicana (2715 Wadsworth Street, Saginaw).  Entry is $5 (or $4 with a canned good donation).  If you are interested in selling tamales or selling items at the bazaar, contact Maggie Yrlas at 989-493-2234.