history and origin tamale cake

Monday morning, a long day of work awaits most people in the Mexico City. It is then, a recurring choice for its flavor and its price… Tamale cake or as it is also known, the turkey. But Is there something special behind this food?here we tell you everything that makes this well-known Mexican dish special.

To unravel everything that makes up this cake, NEWSCAST talked with Jose N. Iturriaga, a renowned essayist, narrator and journalist, teacher and doctor in History from the CIDHEM, he was also the editor and director of the collection of Indigenous and Popular Recipes from Mexico and Ancient Recipes from Mexico.

Where is the Guajolota born?

Contrary to what the tamale cake might seem Northor is it a completely chilango dish, but it is a later adaptation to a food from the city of populate.

“The guajolota is originally a stuffed pambazo with some enchiladas, Since it is a wheat bread stuffed with a corn food, the name was later adapted to the tamale cakes of Mexico City,” Iturriaga commented.

Who eats it more?

This food is characteristic of meXmiddle class economy tracts for all the advantages it has, it suppresses hunger, provides energy, and is generally not expensive. This directly affects its diffusion.

“This food is characteristic of the economic extracts of middle class and the most modest. The wealthy classes don’t really know it, it’s very rare that they have tried a tamale cake “, he commented.

Is it a redundant food?

It often happens that you have a misconception about the turkeybecause it is believed to be a food very old and redundant in terms of mass.

“We have the prejudice of a dough thing stuffed with a dough thing, it seems something heavy and repetitive in flavorbut a tamale cake is a extraordinary balancethe freshly baked bread, the crunchiness of the bolillo in contrast to the softness of the tamale achieved by steam cooking. From the gastronomic point of view the guajolota is something remarkable and rich”, José N. Iturriaga expressed with pleasure.

This balance is achieved by the texture of the flavor in contact with the papillae of the tongue, this combination unleashes a festival of flavors that synthesize a complete meal.

“The neutral taste of bread goes perfectly well with any kind of tamalegreen, rajas or mole, we are really talking about the guajolota It is not only something very helpful to the people of Mexico, but it is something truly exquisite from the gastronomic point of view”, commented the historian José.

What is its nutritional value?

This dish that is very easy to find in the streets of the Mexico City It has its nutritional advantages.

“From a nutritional point of view, it is absolutely sufficient food to support a long working dayIt has carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, due to tomatoes, chili peppers, onions and garlic, and dried or fresh fruits. Protein is found in wheat and to a lesser extent in corn, as well as the meat and cheese of some of the Tamales”, affirmed José N. Iturriaga.

The guajolota, gastronomic exponent of our cuisine

When does the consumption of guajolota start?

The Tamale cake It could not exist without the effect of miscegenation, so its origin could be unearthed around those dates.

“There are no documentary sources that allow us to rigorously establish the birth date of the tamale cake, but we can think of it because of the miscegenation between the 18th century and 19th century, Mexican cuisine is a mestizo cuisine, She is not indigenous or Spanishbut it has both origins, but it is also enriched with European elements, France, Italy, Germanic countries, miscegenations closer to the twentieth century Asians, Chinese, Japanese and from Asia Minor, Syria and Lebanon”, pointed out the historian.

Thanks to this food we can understand a historical moment of great importance for the nation, The miscegenation.

“Tamale cake is a example of miscegenationtwo cereals are combined, one very native to America domesticated in Mexico, the corn and another domesticated in Europe probably from Asia Minor, the wheatand that also goes with dressing. The sauce is mestizothe onion and garlic are of Eurasian origin, the tomato, and all varieties of chiles are absolutely of Mexican origin”, commented José N. Iturriaga with pleasure.

Another possible origin is thanks to France and its intervention in Mexican territory.

“It may also be likely in the XIX century, from the French influence and its intervention, brings a gastronomic roots in Mexico ‘the french bread’ which is nothing more than our bolillo, so that could also be its origin, ”explains the expert.

Understand us as a people

Language, religion and food are three aspects where we can understand miscegenation. By language the words we have of the Nahuatl, tompiate, petate, chiquihuite, etc. For religion in syncretism of catholic ritesand in the food, a dish created from a European cereal brought by the Spanish, in union with and a fundamental cereal for Mexico.


Whether you accompany it with an atole or a black coffee, whether you eat it very early in the morning before your work, the guajolota is essential in the gastronomy of Mexico. The bolillo and the tamale are a constant reminder of our history, they are a hallmark of our identity, and they accompany the journey of the chilangos for their working day.

A food many times reviled, which it keeps for us important lessons to get to know each other as a people, understand each other as a nation and live as Mexicans.