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Hot Tamale Trail
Southern Foodways Alliance ^ | Undated | Amy Evans Streeter, SFA Oral Historian

Posted on 12/29/2013 4:17:15 PM PST by wizkid

In Latin America, hot tamales are as ubiquitous as the sandwich. This holds true in, of all places, the Mississippi Delta. Better known for its association with cotton and catfish, the Mississippi Delta has a fascinating relationship with tamales. In restaurants, on street corners, and in kitchens throughout the Delta, this very old and time-consuming culinary tradition remains vibrant. But how and when were hot tamales introduced to what has been called “the most Southern place on earth”? And why have they stayed? There are as many answers to those questions as there are tamale recipes. Oral history interviews with tamale makers and vendors in the Delta today offer us some answers. They reveal the various ways in which tamale recipes have been acquired and how they have evolved, helping to explain the persistence of hot tamales in the Mississippi Delta.

(Excerpt) Read more at southernfoodways.org ...


TOPICS: Chit/Chat; Food
KEYWORDS: delta; dixie; south; tamale
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To some people, New Years in the deep South means black eyed peas but, to me, it means Hot Tamales.
1 posted on 12/29/2013 4:17:15 PM PST by wizkid
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To: wizkid

Tamales are traditional on Christmas


2 posted on 12/29/2013 4:18:25 PM PST by Nifster
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To: wizkid
To some people, New Years in the deep South means black eyed peas but, to me, it means Hot Tamales.

Living in Texas, to me, it means both!!!

Why take chances...???

3 posted on 12/29/2013 4:20:08 PM PST by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: Ignorance On Parade)
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To: wizkid

We talking tamales or the candy Hot Tamales?


4 posted on 12/29/2013 4:21:15 PM PST by Lurkina.n.Learnin (This is not just stupid, we're talking Democrat stupid here.)
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To: Nifster

What ever happened to the Whole Enchilada?


5 posted on 12/29/2013 4:22:32 PM PST by chicagolady (Mexican Elite say: EXPORT Poverty and Let the the Stupid AmericanTaxpayer foot the bill !)
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To: wizkid

I LOVE tamales. LOVE them.


6 posted on 12/29/2013 4:23:47 PM PST by Hardastarboard (The question of our age is whether a majority of Americans can and will vote us all into slavery.)
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To: wizkid
And why have they stayed?

Because they taste good!

Tamales at Advent are a So Cal tradition too.

7 posted on 12/29/2013 4:24:24 PM PST by Mike Darancette (Do The Math)
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To: wizkid

I live in San Diego where Tamales are readily available at many of the cocinas. I love tamales!


8 posted on 12/29/2013 4:30:43 PM PST by South40 (Liberalism is a Disease)
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To: wizkid

When I would visit friends in Jackson,Ms it was a given we would have Hot tamales for dinner. We would drive to this hole in the wall place and place our order through the window and drive home with dozens of tamales. Good eats!


9 posted on 12/29/2013 4:32:17 PM PST by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: wizkid
Alton Brown did a show about the Tamale Trail in his second "Feasting on Asphalt" road-show miniseries ("The River Run"), in which he rode a motorcycle north, following the Mississippi north from the Gulf.

Interesting show, well worth a look.

10 posted on 12/29/2013 4:34:05 PM PST by Charles Martel (Endeavor to persevere...)
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To: wizkid

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TOXXh24HnmY&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DTOXXh24HnmY#


11 posted on 12/29/2013 4:35:30 PM PST by Vaquero (Don't pick a fight with an old guy. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.)
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To: wizkid

Yep. We had tamales on Christmas day. Delicious!


12 posted on 12/29/2013 4:39:38 PM PST by paint_your_wagon
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To: wizkid
I went for years not eating tamales because I did not know that you had to remove the outer wrapping before eating them. I tried eating them with the wrapper and found it an unpleasant experience.

Well since removing the wrapper, I've been finding them quite tasty.


13 posted on 12/29/2013 4:42:55 PM PST by SamAdams76
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To: wizkid

Polenta tamale with a pasilla chili beef mole, some ancho chili barbeque sauce and salsa verde


14 posted on 12/29/2013 4:43:49 PM PST by JoeProBono (SOME IMAGES MAY BE DISTURBING VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED;-{)
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To: paint_your_wagon
As a kid, I liked to eat the canned Hormel ones. I think I would prefer the meat be lean pork though, the masa plain without stuff rolled into it. Not too spicy. Hard to find a good recipe on the internet.

It was the steaming that put me off but now I know how to rig something up or use a crockpot.

15 posted on 12/29/2013 4:43:52 PM PST by Aliska
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To: wizkid
To some people, New Years in the deep South means black eyed peas

Don't forget the hog jowl.

16 posted on 12/29/2013 4:45:45 PM PST by Some Fat Guy in L.A. (Still bitterly clinging to rational thought despite it's unfashionability)
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To: Nifster
Yes, in a lot of areas they are popular. When I moved to Southern California, my Mexican friends would have me over for tamales during Christmas/New Years.

I feel sorry for people without this tradition. Here is an Esquire writer who is flummoxed by the whole thing:

Esquire - The Red-Hot, Pork-Stuffed, Corn-Wrapped, Blues-Flavored Enigma

At first I thought they messed up my order because I was like, "What the **** is that?" as I stared into a Styrofoam container at Bud's Snack Bar in Tunica, Mississippi. Inside there was a lump wrapped in some kind of a wax paper, tied together with what looked to me like a tampon string.

I was really specific when I told the girl working behind the counter I wanted a tamale. She said okay, then asked how many. I told her one, she said they don't serve only one, and before I could even ask her why not, she said they sell them by the dozen, half dozen, or I can buy just three for three dollars, since they come in a bundle. I told her I'd take three.

I then asked the girl if in fact that thing inside the white Styrofoam container was a tamale. I'm no connoisseur, but to me it looked absolutely nothing like any tamale I'd ever seen before.


Apparently, this poor man has never bought tamales by the dozen and experienced the torture of the smell permeating both his car and clothes during the ride home as the molten red grease seepes through the brown paper sack. Of course, one or two always went missing during my trips.

Here is one of my favorite places in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Solly's:

Solly's Tamales - Store Front photo Picture138_zps1881fb31.jpg

Eat your heart out Taco Bell:

Solly's Tamales Vicksburg - Hot Tamales photo Picture139_zps3eff1b02.jpg

Here is their mucho delish-iosso tamale burrito (a bad boy loaded with tamale stuffing):

 photo Picture140_zps15f597c6.jpg
17 posted on 12/29/2013 4:50:58 PM PST by wizkid
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To: JoeProBono

No frou frou mericones tamales for me, gracias.

Tamales puerco con salsa rojo muy picante por favor!


18 posted on 12/29/2013 4:56:47 PM PST by freedumb2003 (Fight Tapinophobia in all its forms! Do not submit to arduus privilege.)
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To: Red_Devil 232
When you say order from a whole in the wall, you ain't kidding.

Sorry for the ridiculously large photo but I cannot get it re-sized for the life of me:

Solly's Tamales Vicksburg - Order Window photo Picture147_zps0901a844.jpg
19 posted on 12/29/2013 4:58:40 PM PST by wizkid
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To: wizkid

We bought three dozen from our Hispanic friend for Christmas and New Year’s day. We also got a pint of fresh salsa. Wife is out of state until Jan 2nd. What to do, what to do?? They are SO good.


20 posted on 12/29/2013 5:01:27 PM PST by Arrowhead1952 (The Second Amendment is NOT about the right to hunt. It IS a right to shoot tyrants.)
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To: wizkid
Try:

<img src="http://i848.photobucket.com/albums/ab42/wizkidjohnq/Picture147_zps0901a844.jpg" width=300>

You can use height=xxx or width=xxx -- the measurements are in pixels so you can sort of guess -- it is 100 per inch.

That results in:


21 posted on 12/29/2013 5:06:53 PM PST by freedumb2003 (Fight Tapinophobia in all its forms! Do not submit to arduus privilege.)
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To: freedumb2003

I like the bigger picture


22 posted on 12/29/2013 5:09:40 PM PST by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: Arrowhead1952
Wife is out of state until Jan 2nd. What to do, what to do?? They are SO good.

Simple.

Eat 18 now and then on Jan 2 tell your wife someone broke in and stole the other 18 and the leftover salsa.

23 posted on 12/29/2013 5:09:54 PM PST by freedumb2003 (Fight Tapinophobia in all its forms! Do not submit to arduus privilege.)
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To: Red_Devil 232

24 posted on 12/29/2013 5:11:49 PM PST by freedumb2003 (Fight Tapinophobia in all its forms! Do not submit to arduus privilege.)
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To: SamAdams76
I tried eating them with the wrapper and found it an unpleasant experience.

I think President Ford did the same thing.

25 posted on 12/29/2013 5:23:53 PM PST by Arrowhead1952 (The Second Amendment is NOT about the right to hunt. It IS a right to shoot tyrants.)
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To: okie01

I really miss having the option to go into any crappy Alsups in West Texas and get tamales if I wanted them... I recall buying 10 homemade tamales at a clip from an old woman outside the grocery store in Hobbs too.


26 posted on 12/29/2013 5:26:27 PM PST by Rodamala
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To: JoeProBono
Polenta tamale with a pasilla chili beef mole, some ancho chili barbeque sauce and salsa verde

Food porn!

27 posted on 12/29/2013 5:29:30 PM PST by Rodamala
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To: wizkid
Then there are these:


28 posted on 12/29/2013 5:30:25 PM PST by Michael.SF. (I never thought anyone could make Jimmy Carter look good in comparison.)
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To: wizkid

Someone had to do it.

29 posted on 12/29/2013 5:33:40 PM PST by Yaelle
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To: okie01

“Living in Texas, to me, it means both! Why take chances...??? “

Agree for sure! I’m a NBT (native born Texian) and my family has served both as long as I can remember. Sadly though, black eyed peas with snaps has become difficult to find. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you don’t matter. :)


30 posted on 12/29/2013 5:33:46 PM PST by snoringbear (E.oGovernment is the Pimp,)
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Pork tamales have always been a favorite of ours. If you happen to know someone that is good at making them, take them some venison to mix with the pork. You will not be disappointed.


31 posted on 12/29/2013 5:34:35 PM PST by jy8z (When push comes disguised as nudge, I do not budge.)
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To: Nifster

Christmas Eve. Every year I do a tamale, rice, beans, and drinks feed for family and friends. We usually have between 30-50 people show up.


32 posted on 12/29/2013 5:34:43 PM PST by sheana
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To: JoeProBono

Wow. That Polenta tamale looks great.


33 posted on 12/29/2013 5:36:48 PM PST by SharpRightTurn (White, black, and red all over--America's affirmative action, metrosexual president.)
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To: freedumb2003

Guess I could leave the garage door open but keep the house locked for a couple of hours, since they are in the fridge out there.


34 posted on 12/29/2013 5:40:01 PM PST by Arrowhead1952 (The Second Amendment is NOT about the right to hunt. It IS a right to shoot tyrants.)
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To: wizkid

I do tamales for Christmas - and only the sauces are hot, the tamales are not.

I’m Brooklyn Irish Catholic and my husband in New England Irish English French Canadian......but he spent 11 years living in Texas and Arizona before we met. I learned to make tamales for him.


35 posted on 12/29/2013 5:40:28 PM PST by Gabz (Democrats for Voldemort.)
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To: Nifster

I bought some tamales from a Mexican lady who works where I work...not sure I like them that much...but I do like Tex/Mex a lot....I think better than Asian food......


36 posted on 12/29/2013 5:42:45 PM PST by cherry (.in the time of universal deceit, telling the truth is revolutionary.....)
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To: Rodamala
I really miss having the option to go into any crappy Alsups in West Texas and get tamales if I wanted them... I recall buying 10 homemade tamales at a clip from an old woman outside the grocery store in Hobbs too.

Good tamales are where you find 'em. Best I ever had came from a vendor in the Athens, TX city square. Black gentleman named Early Raymond, who defined his 7-day weeks as "three makin' days and three sellin' days, with Sundays for church".

He drove all over Henderson County looking for what he called "#1 corn husks".

Wonderful tamales...

And, if you can make friends with a Tex-Mex family where the women get together every holiday season and make literally hundreds of tamales, and come into a dozen-or-two for yourself, you can't go wrong.

Mmmmmmmmmmmm....hot tamales....cold Mexican beer.

37 posted on 12/29/2013 5:43:08 PM PST by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: Ignorance On Parade)
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To: Arrowhead1952; SamAdams76

LOL When my little one first had shrimp she hated them because she didn’t know to peel the shells off. I thought it was a given...bad Mommy.


38 posted on 12/29/2013 5:46:28 PM PST by JouleZ (You are the company you keep.)
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To: wizkid
I love traditions....tamales for Christmas is a tradition but so is having fried fish and pirogys on Christmas Eve for Polish, Ukranian and Slavic people...

having corned beef on St Paddy's day....

and hot cross buns on St. Joseph feast day....

39 posted on 12/29/2013 5:48:15 PM PST by cherry (.in the time of universal deceit, telling the truth is revolutionary.....)
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To: JouleZ

my little one ATE the shell until someone noticed and corrected him.....lol


40 posted on 12/29/2013 5:49:19 PM PST by cherry (.in the time of universal deceit, telling the truth is revolutionary.....)
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To: wizkid

Yep. Baked ham, black-eyed peas (for good luck) and collard greens on New Years Day.

Tamales and posole are for Christmas Eve in the Southwest but good all year long, too.

It’s all good anytime and anywhere. Happy New Year FR!


41 posted on 12/29/2013 5:50:23 PM PST by JouleZ (You are the company you keep.)
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To: okie01

And, if you can make friends with a Tex-Mex family where the women get together every holiday season and make literally hundreds of tamales,


BTDT, it’s quite the chore. But everybody scootin off with 3 dozen tamales is worth the work.

And I have learned one word: Gerhart’s. ONLY.


42 posted on 12/29/2013 5:50:47 PM PST by txhurl
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To: txhurl

typo.. Gebhart’s.


43 posted on 12/29/2013 5:51:59 PM PST by txhurl
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To: wizkid
Corinth, Mississippi, has a lineage of tamale makers dating back to WWI. The railroads passed through this town and the black tamale makers would sell them to the soldiers passing through. Several tamale makers had a small wagon where they made them and kept them hot to sell. Twenty years ago there were still four tamale stands in the town that were owned by the same families that made them in the 1900’s, now there is only one left. Twenty years ago tamales were peddled from a box mounted on the back of a bicycle by the makers and they'd sell them all over town.
44 posted on 12/29/2013 6:02:57 PM PST by vetvetdoug
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To: wizkid
Good article Wizkid....It is mysterious the number of tamale joints up the Mississippi into TN. I've tried a number of tamales from different regions of Mexico which vary widely. Some are the familiar tubular shape and some are formed like a little pumpkin. Also one man here has a Cuban tamale where the meat is mixed with the masa. However the are mild and need Tabasco. The hot tamale of this region of MS. are spicy, requiring a cold drink along side and after dinner mints later [i.e. Tums]
45 posted on 12/29/2013 6:03:39 PM PST by virgil283 (When the sun spins, the cross appears, and the skies burn red)
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To: JouleZ

Yeah, I bet that was not a good first impression of a great food. That would be about as unpleasant as eating the cheese cloth and wax on the outside of a cheese wheel.


46 posted on 12/29/2013 6:10:17 PM PST by Arrowhead1952 (The Second Amendment is NOT about the right to hunt. It IS a right to shoot tyrants.)
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To: txhurl

Try Marias Bar and Grill next to Oskis in Lago Vista for good tamales. $12 for a dozen with chips and salsa. We got some carry out there when our daughter was in town and also three dozen from our friend.


47 posted on 12/29/2013 6:16:26 PM PST by Arrowhead1952 (The Second Amendment is NOT about the right to hunt. It IS a right to shoot tyrants.)
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To: Arrowhead1952

As a kid I used to buy those wax bottles of juice, drink it down and then chew the wax so maybe it’s hereditary. HaH


48 posted on 12/29/2013 6:16:37 PM PST by JouleZ (You are the company you keep.)
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To: wizkid
 photo Picture147_zps396cf706.jpg
49 posted on 12/29/2013 6:52:06 PM PST by SWAMPSNIPER (The Second Amendment, a Matter of Fact, Not a Matter of Opinion)
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To: snoringbear
If my wife was online she would kill me. She hates it when I switch from one food to the next. For example, I will say I am going to take her out to BBQ then change my mind and decide on Italian. In this case, the switch is from tamales to classic Southern style feasts.

I would be remiss without a picture of some black eyed peas (alas with no snaps in them).

Southern style veggies can't be beat that's for sure. One thing about Southern cafeterias is the sheer variety of vegetables. Here is one of my all time favorite spreads from Bryce's in Texarkana (It is a shame what the new freeway overpass did to them.)



Check out these salads:



Jellies too, including that Southern delicacy, Tomato Aspic stuffed with mayonnaise.



and what meal would be complete without some pie (and, no, that is not a mirror image of pies but a double decker stack of pie shelves):


50 posted on 12/29/2013 6:58:04 PM PST by wizkid
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