How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Got masa?

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Dry masa mix on the shelf in a Westlake grocery store, November 2010

Now that the turkey thing is behind us, it's officially tamales season, the time of year when bags of dry masa mix begin flying off grocery shelves. Ready for your tamaleadas?

I'm not, but I'll be hitting the grocery store this weekend for my Maseca and hojas.

See you back here Monday. In the meantime, I've tracked down a couple of good tamal-making videos, one for Mexican-style tamales (starring a hip hop-loving chef), and one for Central American-style tamales. No language comprehension necessary - the demonstrations are easy to follow.

A good holiday weekend to all.

Read More...

Tamales mania in El Sereno

Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Tamal vendors in action at the L.A. Tamale Throwdown, November 12, 2010

Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Tamal vendors in action at the L.A. Tamale Throwdown, November 12, 2010

Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Tamal vendors in action at the L.A. Tamale Throwdown, November 12, 2010


Tamales! What can be better this time of year? I ventured over to the L.A. Tamale Throwdown in El Sereno after it kicked off this afternoon to take a few photos and, well, eat tamales.

Like most other people who make tamales for the holidays, I make them once a year - just once, because it's hard work - and am usually sick of them by the day after Christmas. But it's been almost a year, as I'm sure it has for many tamalistas, so now is the time to start indulging again.

The event itself was a hoot: vendor stands selling tamales, aguas frescas, pupusas and other staples, great music, artesanias, and a trophy-laden table of lucky judges onstage, eating steaming plates submitted by the city's tamal purveyors. (Don't know what the grand prize is, but I'll bet it's not a year's supply of masa.) Best thing is that it runs through 10 p.m. Saturday.

Read More...