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Tamales and Pasteles: An Observation

I’ve had friendly arguments over which came first: the tamale or the pastel. After bantering for some time, we came to the conclusion that it was indeed the tamale that came first. However, what came out from the conversation was our curiosity of what made these two foods different, despite it being so similar and representative of two different cultures. What it boiled down to was the corn and the plátano, the main ingredient used to house the meat and seasonings inside. 

I think about this small argument that I had because it made me realize just how influential food can be for other cultures. Is this a form of cultural appropriation? Or is this not part of that? I personally don’t believe that it is given the conceit of a pastel is not meant to see as “better” than the tamale, but it definitely is a conversation that would be interesting to have or further explore with.


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