For Christmas, Central and Mexican-American families don't crave a holiday turkey; they want a plate of steaming hot tamales.

Gustavo Arellano, author of the bookTaco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, says that to him, tamales are more than food. They transmit Latino culture during Christmas.

"It is about sustenance, but not just in the nutritional sense. It's also in a community sense. It's also in a spiritual sense," he says. "It's the ultimate Christmas gift."

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