Sunday, August 11, 2013


One of my favorite food related adventures was the Tuesday food exchange with my Columbian friend, Zahydee.

Every first and third Tuesday of the month, I tapped into my cache of memorized recipes and doubled up on a coordinated meal. I called Zahydee. She bounced down the sidewalk, sniffed her way through my door, down the hall, and into my kitchen. We sat down to one of my well-rehearsed spreads: Greek or Persian, sometimes Italian or Hungarian. All the time I’d spent experimenting paid off in her smile.

On the second and fourth Tuesdays, I was treated with an exotic array: Columbian empanadas, cucumber salad, and a no-holds-barred version of tripe soup quite different than the menudo I’d enjoyed in good Mexican restaurants.

Zahydee's tamales
 My favorite, by far, were the Columbian tamales. By now I’d wrapped a variety of husk-filled little logs representative of several Mexican regions. But her green bundles were new to me, each an enfolded bit of paradise.

Replacing the more familiar cornhusk with emerald green banana leaves, the steamed result delighted with uniquely flavored masa, onions, and chicken. Upon digging deeper, I found unexpected carrots and green olives.

  Though jobs inevitably took Zahydee and me to different states, ending our Tuesday swap, she gave me a parting gift I’ll be forever grateful for. She taught me how to make Columbian tamales. I couldn’t bear the thought of depriving myself of the occasional banana leaf wrapped wonder. Thank you Zahydee for teaching me one more recipe I could add to my cookbook!
-Good Cooking!  - Inkpot (AKA Karen Albright Lin)
Columbian Tamales


  1. I love sharing the preparing of a meal. It brings people together in a loving and warm kitchen and at the table--a sense of community that is so wonderful. I like that you call Zahydee's tamales a gift. I can't wait for your cookbook!!