Pandemic or not, it’s tamale season in Los Angeles
For thousands of years, Indigenous people in Mexico and Central America have ground corn into flour, hydrated it into a mash, packed it with a filling, and wrapped it all in corn husks. Beyond that, there’s no single, correct way to make tamales. Tejal Rao covers the “full splendor” of tamale season in Los Angeles for The New York Times, a time of year that highlights the “one-of-a-kind experiments and regional variations” on the seasoned dough called masa, and other forms of preparation. This year, Claudia Serrato, a teacher and cook, is making hers with blue corn and bison meat, to honor ancient trade routes, while others sub out the corn husks for banana or avocado leaves, or the meaty filling for mushrooms. The cooking parties with friends and families are smaller, but the food tradition continues.