A tamal (from Nahuatl tamalli, plural tamales)
As a Mexican immigrant in this country, I truly appreciate the efforts of the so-called “general population” to embrace the so-called Latino culture (chips and salsa, burritos, chimichangas, tortillas, tequila, etc.) But a story this morning on The Daily Breeze (yep) reminded me of something that has bothered me ever since I arrived here: Americans insist in calling the singular of tamales a ‘tamale,’ when we all know it is really a tamal.
In the story, aptly titled Tamale is a Hot Choice for Yule, a customer at a local tamal factory declares: “I love them, and I’ve never had a decent tamale in Arkansas.”
OK, that is nice, but just for the record: next time you want to talk about one and not several, keep in mind it’s one tamal, two tamales, three tamales, etc.