Tamales are one of those things that, if I see them, I buy them. Growing up in an Italian family it may seem strange, but my grandmother actually made tamales by hand, and I fell in love with them as a little kid. During the trip where I secured my oh-so-delightful pig ears, I found these babies sitting on the shelf.

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After doing a bit of research it turns out that Senora Verde is a Sav-A-Lot exclusive brand. Exclusive means “good,” right? I dumped them out into a microwave-safe dish as instructed on the can, and got them ready to cook. They didn’t have much of a smell, which is odd for something in chili sauce.

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Look at that rich chili sauce. If by “rich” you mean “watery with some clumps of something.” The paper wrapper on the tamales is the functional, albeit not very appealing, replacement for corn husks on a traditional tamale. Three minutes of high power cooking later and they were ready to unwrap and enjoy.

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 The sauce did thicken up a bit and looked like a more coherent thing, rather than watery separated components. After unwrapping I cut one open to see what they were made of.

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Apparently they were filled with…something? The cross section reminded me of a dog’s favorite treat. Joy.

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Time to taste. I could really just say “what taste” and end this right here. I didn’t expect some kind of culinary masterpiece but these things were completely bland. Mushy cornmeal, mushy “beef” and watery flavorless sauce.  Imagine a can of kids’ ravioli in a vaguely chili like broth and you have the texture and taste of these things. Twenty minutes later and I could still feel the sauce eating at the enamel of my teeth. Perhaps as a solvent these things might have some value, but as a food they get a major, “you don’t have to.”

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