The first thing you should know about San Antonio’s Tamales! festival is that it’s not only about tamales. In fact, like most events that take place at the city’s vibrant and rapidly evolving Pearl Brewery complex, Tamales!—now in its fourth year—presents the ultimate combo platter of food, music, dance, and people-watching, all with a festive and easygoing vibe that somehow recalls a small-town carnival.
In the December issue, we take you to San Antonio’s Tamales! Festival, which takes place at The Pearl on December 7. Here are two (relatively) simple recipes for tamales—one a classic pork tamale, and the other a sweet variety with pineapple, pumpkin, and raisins. You can add or subtract spices in both recipes to your taste.
In the doorway of an unassuming building on Main Street in Lake Dallas, David Owen, a.k.a. “The Tamale Man,” wipes the perspiration from his freckled brow. The heat in the kitchen of Lone Star Tamale Co. pushes the thermometer to the triple digits—a combination of the sultry North Texas summer and the steam cooking the tamales that have lured Tex-Mex connoisseurs from as far away as Alaska.
Margaret Victor, a high school teacher from Sandia, gives this vegetarian recipe for tamales. For the best flavor, Margaret says to make them in June, right after the corn is harvested, but they're tasty any time of the year. Margaret and her family enjoy eating them with salsa. (Note that there's no masa to mix or spread, so these tamales go together fast.)