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Oral History Project of the Week: Hot Tamale!

Wrapping tamales at Scott’s, Greenville, MS. Photo by Amy Evans.
Wrapping tamales at Scott’s, Greenville, MS. Photo by Amy Evans.

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?

Gentle Lee Rainey of Delta Fast Food in Cleveland, MS. Photo by Amy Evans.
Gentle Lee Rainey of Delta Fast Food in Cleveland, MS. Photo by Amy Evans.

We’ve just finished updating our Mississippi Delta Hot Tamale Trail with new media and features, including an updated interactive map.

Learn about the history of the tamalehear the stories of more than a dozen Delta hot tamale vendors, and try making tamales in your own kitchen.

Shine Thornton of Maria’s Famous Hot Tamales, Greenville, MS. Photo by Amy Evans.
Shine Thornton of Maria’s Famous Hot Tamales, Greenville, MS. Photo by Amy Evans.

When your hot tamale craving becomes too much to handle, hit the road to try some of Mississippi’s finest!

— Southern Foodways Alliance

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
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