For countless Mexican American families and Texans, the holidays mean tamales. (Fun fact: the season starring fresh masa technically runs from the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12th through Three Kings’ Day on January 6th.) Since we’re not traveling for the holidays this year, I decided to join in the fun, put my family on the assembly line, and steam a couple batches of our own.
To procure the fresh masa, I stood in a long (socially distanced) line at El Milagro in Austin. After chatting with the gentleman in front of me, who was buying masa for his wife’s sweet tamales (made with raisins and coconut) I purchased 5 pounds of coarsely ground, unprepared masa (prepared masa is mixed with lard and ready to go), which had a sweet, earthy aroma the consistency of fresh Play Dough.