Our happy, hearty T.Hanksgiving



Tom Hanks is a national treasure. He writes back to his fans. He takes photos with fans. He’s apparently related to Abraham Lincoln. He supports the troops. He’s awesome to his wife. And in a time when Hollywood (and let’s face it, America) is teeming with skeezebags, Tom Hanks is the hero we need.

You probably don’t need me to tell you about Tom Hanks. You know. To celebrate this man, we decided to throw a Tom Hanks giving — a T.Hanksgiving. We already decided to have a friendsgiving for individual family reasons (didn’t want to travel/different schedules), so we threw a T.Hanksgiving for a group of friends. Jeck loves parties, and part of this blog is how we set them up. For this party, we hosted about 12 people throughout the day.




Makes 2 dozen tamales

1 bag of corn husks (will have leftover)
1 bag masa flour (look for one that says masa harina)
1 large beef roast
1.5 onions
5 cloves of garlic
2 bags of dehydrated red chili pods
1 box of chicken broth
1 box of lard, can be found at mexican food store
Jar of green olives
1 can of tomatillos
2 jalapenos

Different families make tamales differently. My family makes them this way, but feel free to customize to your tastes.

Cook to beef roast with a roughly chopped onion and 5 cloves of garlic, with just enough water to cover the roast. You can use any spices you want here. Cooked to tender overnight. Once it’s cooled, shred it.

Rehydrate the red chilis in a large soup pot. Let it sit in water a few hours. Bring to a boil, stir occasionally. Cook these on medium-low for about 40 minutes. Turn heat off, let cool. Continue to stir. Drain. Now you have moist red chilis. In a food processor process all the chilis. For every batch (there’s more than can probably fit in a processor), add 1 clove of garlic, a teaspoon of salt, and a ¼-½ cup of chicken broth. You need enough liquid to get stuff rotating, but not more. Run chilis through a large sieve to remove seeds and skins.

Now mix the beef and red chili. We mixed it at two parts beef to one part red chili. If there is too much liquid, it will drip out of the tamales. We let the beef and sauce sit together overnight in the fridge. If you’re making these the next day, before you go to bed, start the corn husks soaking in a sink full of water. Make sure you clean off any corn silk or bugs.

Make the masa:

We used Maseca Instant Yellow Corn Masa Flour and the bigger bags usually have recipes for the tamale masa on the side. We followed that recipe to get a big mixing bowl full. You can’t really have too much masa.


Filling the tamales is a family affair, so it’s perfect our quad and families during the holiday season. Togetherness! Wow! It’s easiest to assign one person to spread masa (a small spatula is best). Hold the husk in your hand, use the spatula over the bottom two thirds of the husk (the wider end). Add about ¼ cup of beef mixture in the center (depending on how big your husk is) and insert one green olive in each. Roll the two sides over each other and bend the smaller end of the tamale over itself. Flip it over and set down. Fill all corn husks. These can be wrapped and frozen in plastic baggies or wrapped and cooked and frozen. It’ll be fresher if they’re frozen and cooked later. Freeze any you’re not cooking right away.

Steam batches of tamales for 50 minutes. We used a steamer basket in a big pot of boiling water. The water shouldn’t touch the tamales. Let cool for a bit, then unwrap and enjoy with tomatillo salsa! We kept them warm for the party with these chafing kits. Once you get the kit, you can just replace the cans and trays (if necessary) each time, keeping the metal rack. We’ve found these to be tremendous helpers during parties when you need to keep food warm.

To make the salsa, mix the following in a food processor

1 can of tomatillo
½ an onion
Tablespoon of salt
2 jalapenos, depending on spice level you want


Margarita Wilsons (Tom’s wife is name Rita Wilson):

Service size (8-10 people) – Makes about 3 pints
Squeeze a bunch of citrus: 2 grapefruits, 4 limes, 2 lemons, 1 orange
Split pomegranate juice and raspberry lemonade to fill and to taste
Tequila: 1.5 cups (to taste) – We love Tito’s

Tom’s Colin (Tom has a son named Colin):

We just made a variation on a classic Tom Collin, made individually
Tablespoon simple syrup (1 part sugar and 2 parts water, depending on how sweet you want)
Lemon juice, ½ a lemon
Gin, 2 ounces
Club soda, to fill glass
A sprig of thyme, as a nod to the time-hopping Cloud Atlas


We pared these Tom-themed foods with boxes of chocolates, some baked veggies, traditional stuffing, chex mix, and two pies. Because we all need pie.


Parties need decorations. They just do. Because we connected our food to Tom, we did some little food labels so people would be hit over the head with our cleverness.


We made a banner by printing and cutting out several Tom Hanks heads from different eras of movies. There’s a bit of trial and error in this to get them all the same size.

Make the T.HANKS part by cutting out diamonds from card stock (I liked these pastel colors for this party, but warm fall colors would work too), folding in half to make a triangle, and attaching to a yarn string with tape. Whatever you have on hand works, but I do love this twine for a low-key affair like this one.

Yes, they are terrifying when complete.

Make the Tom masks my cutting out a face-sized Tom photos and using an X-Acto knife to cut out the eyes. Poke holes in the ears and attach more of the string.

Movie choices

Because it was a happy occasion, we narrowed the fields to comedies — still leaving us with gobs of choices. The night before, as we were making our crafts, we watched Bachelor Party. It was suggested by some coworkers. It’s got a very young Tom Hanks and it’s not great. Sorry Bachelor Party fans. On T.Hanksgiving, starting at noon, we went with…

  • Big: The movie that taught us pedophilia is OK as long as the child is trapped in an adult’s body (We wore pajamas in honor of this movie)
  • Splash: That’s where the name Madison came from. Fact!
  • Dragnet (1987): Don’t repeat our mistake, this is a Dan Aykroyd movie with Tom Hanks.

This was our first foray into a Friendsgiving. It will certainly not be our last.

4 thoughts on “Our happy, hearty T.Hanksgiving

Add yours

  1. I loved reading the tamale receipe. I might try it. My (mexican) mother’s receipe seems so complicated because she doesn’t measure things she used handfuls and pinches and eyeball it. I’m so excited for future posts!

    Liked by 1 person

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