Mother Earth's / Emma's Tamales

Mon - Thu – 10 - 3, Fri10 - 6
Sat – 11 - 3

Sun – Closed

8101 Elder Creek Rd - Unit P
Sacramento, CA 95824
(Corner of Power Inn Rd & Elder Creek Rd)
Ph: 916.387.MEBG (6324)
916.381.4478 Fax Orders Welcome
Email: emmastamales@sbcglobal.net

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The Beginning...

 

I was in my Grandmothers kitchen in Elk Grove Ca. the summer of 1983, a small town with only one traffic light (this place was meat & potatoes land as it had many cattle ranches and agriculture). I had made a gluten roast and got bored with the same flavor. I was always experimenting in Grandma Emma’s kitchen but this time it was different. The spices I mixed into the roast made it taste like chorizo, only to me it was better, it was drier and sweeter like a Basque Chorizo, only vegan. Back then if the term vegan existed I had never heard of it, we just had the lacto ovo and straight up vegetarian folks which were primarily vegan. A short time passed and I had made some vegan cinnamon rolls (in Grandma's Emma's kitchen of course). I decided to take samples to a couple of local vegetarian restaurants and my local co-op. They tried my creations, they liked it and from there a long miraculous journey unfolded over the course of the next thirty years.... I invested about $85.00 in my first label run that a local newspaper printed for me; they were crack and peel, red ink on white paper. I didn't know what would happen, I just had faith. Time marched on and I said a prayer and relied on faith, if I'm meant to stay here I'll find a kitchen to rent to make this happen, if not, I'll go back to Los Angeles and use the kitchen at the natural foods store kitchen I used to manage. Well, much to my surprise the first person I asked rented me their kitchen. It was only available to me on Sunday's while he was taking the day off. His name was Preston, a very kind-hearted Christian. I would make the Vegetarian Roast and grind it up and season it then take it to the meat department to place into Styrofoam trays, measure it, wrap it and place that little white and red label on it. I also would make about 12 dz. cinnamon rolls and wrap each one individually. The following day all were delivered. This continued for five years but in my third year something weird happened.

Grandma Emma loved tamales and would make them periodically. I would leave because I didn't like the smell - never did. One day I got on Grandma's case about using lard, I asked her if she could use a vegetable oil instead; Grandma revolted no and you have to buy the masa already prepared, no, you can't make it yourself; as if there was some magical process that only true tamale people knew. Ha, I told her, yes you can, and we argued this point until out of frustration I set out to make some masa to prove my point. I made the masa, but I knew that unless I had the filling too there was no way she was going to approve. Using the vegetarian chorizo I was making I mixed it with ingredients to make a filling that would satisfy my carnivorous, arteryclogged Grandmother with a robust, savory flavor as close to meat as I could get. After about two weeks of getting this recipe nailed down the best I could I offered a Mother Earth's original tamale to Grandma Emma. Well, Grandma Emma thought I was pulling a prank on her - not this time! She took one bite and in Spanish called me mentirosa, which means liar in Spanish! She accused me of buying the masa and using real meat. I laughed and looked at her straight in the eyes and said no, this is vegetarian and "No Lard"! She looked at me in amazement and became my biggest fan!


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