Masa Madness: Angelenos scramble for tamale essentials

Call it the Christmas rush – tamale style!

At the Amapola Market in Downey, shoppers stood patiently in line to buy and carry off the masa of choice. The dough made from ground corn, is essential to tasty tamales, say most cooks.

Even though people waited for hours, they did so without much complaint.

One man drove 52 miles, all the way from Lancaster. I mentioned that was quite a distance to travel to buy one ingredient. He said his family had tried other stores closer to home, "But it wasn’t the same."

The masa is made here fresh daily. We watched as bags were placed out, and groups of people selected a bag to carry home.

RELATED: Shoppers wait in line for masa in Downey

Goodwill was in the air from the young Esparza sisters who look forward to the annual tradition of cooking tamales with their parents and grandparents. We heard that tamales were sentimental memories to them. They relished the experience of being together, cooking with the elders and playing games. 

Other moms told me this was the year they were finally teaching their kids how to cook the delicacy, which can take two days to complete. They wanted the tradition to continue. 

The masa madness won’t be over for days! Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are all popular times to enjoy the holiday dish. 

As Adina Lopez told FOX 11, "We are cooking as fast as we can!"