I’ve been running through ingredients rather quickly lately since I started shipping out people chow to people.
I discovered something surprising: the strength of the “tortilla” taste appears to be directly related to the age of the Masa Harina (corn flour) that is used in People Chow. I had previously purchased a 50 pound bag of Maseca Masa off Amazon at an incredible price and had it stored in airtight containers in a cool, dry place. Right about the same time I bought the 50 lb. bag I had also purchased several bags of Great Value (walmart) Masa that I forgot about whilst I was using up the Maseca. I finally finished off the Maseca and started using the Great Value right abotu the same time I started shipping out people chow. I kept the Great Value for my own use and bought new Maseca (since that’s what was in the recipe) to send out.
I hadn’t really noticed but the strong tortilla or tamale flavor of the masa had been diminishing as I worked through the 50 lb bag and was essentially gone when I was consuming the smaller bags. It wasn’t until I was emptying the last of the Great Value that I noticed the “best before” date on the bag. November 2013. Wait, what? I wasn’t worried about getting sick from it but sheesh, that stuff was past expiration when I bought it! (that’s a PSA in and of its self, apparently).
The next time I mixed up a batch with the new Maseca (oddly enough it was week after I shot my “how to mix up a week of dry ingredients in 12 minutes” video) and took a drink with fresh masa in it I was very surprised. Took me a second meal of the new stuff to realize what the difference was. I personally really like the tortilla/tamale taste and I was amazed I hadn’t noticed it was gone until it came back, because there was a huge difference.
I guess the moral of the story is: if you like the tortilla/tamale taste: buy the freshest masa you can get. If you think the corn taste is the worst thing about people chow look for masa that’s nearing it’s expiration date instead (or buy some and hoard it for a few months?), though I can’t say what that will do to the nutrient profile – maybe nothing?