Hot on the tamale trail in the Mississippi Delta

Eatocracy

World-renowned chef, author and Emmy-winning television personality Anthony Bourdain visits the Mississippi Delta in the next episode of “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” airing Sunday, May 18, at 9 p.m. ET. Follow the show on Twitter and Facebook.

Editor’s note: The Southern Foodways Alliance delves deep in the history, tradition, heroes and plain old deliciousness of Southern food. SFA oral historian Amy C. Evans leads us along the Mississippi Delta’s hot tamale trail.

Better known for its association with cotton and catfish, the Mississippi Delta has a fascinating relationship with tamales. The history of the hot tamale in this area reaches back to at least the early part of the twentieth century. Reference to the Delta delicacy appears in the song “They’re Red Hot,” which was recorded by legendary bluesman Robert Johnson in 1936. But there is an even earlier reference in the song “Molly Man,” which…

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