DELTA HOT TAMALE HISTORY
According to the Southern Foodways Alliance and their Mississippi Delta Hot Tamale Trail, the history of the hot tamale in the area dates back to the early part of the twentieth century when migrant workers were brought from Mexico to work with African Americans harvesting cotton. Another theory gives credit to the Italian population that traveled down the river and shared recipes with the migrant workers.
But some think that tamales go back one hundred years earlier to the U.S.-Mexican War when U.S. soldiers from Mississippi traveled to Mexico and brought home tamale recipes. Last, or more appropriately first, the origin could go back as far as the Native Americans who inhabited the area for thousands of years and planted maize as a primary food source. Regardless of which story you believe to be correct, the hot tamale has been around the Delta for generations.
For the complete history of the Delta hot tamale, and information about the Mississippi Delta Hot Tamale Trail, please visit the Hot Tamale Trail website.
Robert Johnson (1911 – 1938), another famous export of the Mississippi Delta, spread the word about the Delta hot tamale by way of this song.
And here is another hot tamale song that will get stuck in your head.