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Smithsonian: How the Hot Tamale Conquered the American South

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Smithsonian: How the Hot Tamale Conquered the American South

Melanie Wong | Dec 28, 2013 01:38 AM

"... The Mississippi Delta is a storied land, famous for many things, from its rich, alluvial soil to the blues to racial strife to its writers, including such greats as Walker Percy, who was raised there after his parents’ death, and even my grandfather, who penned Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper editorials on racial intolerance. Now come tamales—or put more precisely, as they are known regionally, hot tamales.

They likely arrived with Mexican workers in the early 1900s and then stayed for good as a cherished late-afternoon treat. The hot tamale delivers a high-caloric punch in a relatively small package: ground or shredded meat packed with cumin, paprika, garlic and cayenne (the few ingredients nearly every hot tamale has in common) encased in a nurturing blanket of cornmeal and corn flour, all lovingly wrapped together in a corn husk. At six or so inches in length and tubular in shape, it may be smaller than its Mexican cousin, but it more than makes up for it in taste and heat..."

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/...

Another mention of Mississippi Delta tamales,
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4326...

http://www.southernfoodways.org/oral-...

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