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  • Esther has been making tamales for the last 30 years, seven days a week. She makes 250 tamales on weekdays and 500 on Sundays. She always sells them all.
  • Esther starts filling the corn leaves in the evening and goes to bed at 1 a.m. (and 3 a.m. on Sundays), wakes up at 6 a.m. to be in the market at 7 a.m., sells them all around noon and then goes back home to cook the fillings for the next day.
  • The kitchen has two sections, the first one for cooking: green, yellow and black mole; "rajas," chili pepper with cheese and beans; and "lechecilla," sweet. The other section is for filling and baking the tamales.
  • "The first thing is grinding the corn in the mill, then you make a paste with water and manteca, you add salt for the tamales with stew, and pink coloring for the sweet ones," she says
  • She mixes the paste for almost an hour by hand, an electric mixer would be better but is out of her budget.
  • A little girl, Esther's granddaughter, comes into the kitchen and starts playing around.

    "My husband wanted me to leave everything and go live with him and his family in the woods, but was scared in the night so he left me," Says Esther's 25-year-old daughter from the back of the kitchen.
  • "Work helps us when we're sad, we forget about everything. Otherwise I'd become a drunk like my husband. He barely shows up. He was a hard-working man once, but you know how men are here," says Esther
  • One after the other, tamales accumulate by an image of the last supper.

    Esther sees me and says: "We're good catholic people, though I don't really know a lot about that."

    Now the television shows a parody of a singing contest, where a man wearing an apron, speaks fast and acts like a dumb person—a Mexican stereotype of indigenous people.
  • "I have to hurry, if I'm late, then people will buy something else for breakfast," Esther says.
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