This has been the Year of Complicated Recipes.
I’ve known people who cook intricate things as a means of precise, mechanical distraction. I get it, but that is not quite my style. Distraction in cooking for me requires a sort of fugue state of whimsical iteration at 350+ degrees. There are two rules: spice liberally & wear a fancy apron.
I’m not sure why I finally decided to make tamales. Something about simulating a sense of home in what has been a half-year of aimless flux. They are tangible and stolid, process-oriented and no-nonsense, but with ample room for inspired wandering. In a pinch – or for the culinary minimalist – they provide a complete set of essential amino acids. They required less solid fat than August’s croissants, and slightly more than March’s Moroccan bastilla. There is a sort of self-sufficiency about the simplicity: should society as we know it collapse and send modern cookware up in flames, they are the one food I am nearly certain I could manage to wring from the earth and shepherd from seed to table.
Anyone who has cooked with me knows and/or has been frustrated by how awful I am at actually following recipes to the letter. With that in mind, what follows is the gist of what I did. Continue reading “Indulging my Inner Texan: Tamales”