Masa and tamales ready for the holidays

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HOUSTON – The holidays are here. And in Texas, that means tamales.

“In the Spanish heritage, South America, Mexico, we usually make tamales for the holidays,’ Mi Tienda spokesperson Nereyeda Gonzalez explains, ‘we make it for Christmas.”

But if you’re like most families, you don’t buy your tamales, you make them yourself. Starting with the most important ingredient of all: Masa.

“This week’s our best top seller, we sell about a hundred-thousand pounds of masa.”

For those of you who don’t know, masa is the corn filling used to make the soft outer shells of tamales. And making tamales is a holiday tradition around these parts that goes back for centuries. Mi Tienda on East Little York has cashed-in on the craze, offering four different blends for whatever your fancy.

“We have strawberry flavor, we have pineapple flavor and we have a new one which is cactus.’ Gonzalez says.

But don’t expect folks shopping here to tell you what’s in their bags. “It’s a family recipe,’ Carmen Delgado says, ‘and i don’t give it to anybody.”

And if you like that, chew on this: Mi Tienda makes their masa from scratch, each day right inside the store. Eighty-thousand-pounds a week, milled on site – roughly one pound for each fan at a Texans game.

“Our silo holds about forty-thousand pounds of corn,’ Gonzalez says.

And when you’re selling something as special as masa to folks as picky as Texans, it’s got to be authentic.

“It’s excellent,’ Carmen Delgado says. ‘It’s already prepared so you don’t have any problems, you just put it in the leaf and that’s it.”