Chilly today, hot tamale | Rock Candy

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chilly today, hot tamale

Posted By on Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 6:37 PM

Sorry. Bad joke in that headline.

AETN will air a search for the great Delta tamale at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2. It's a Rex Nelson-Kane Webb-Bill Vickery expedition to many storied and not-so-storied tamale joints. I'll be anxious to see if they get into the eatymology of the tamale, how this Latino dish, as perfected by black cooks and Italians, became a Delta staple.

It was also a staple of my hometown, with many tamale joints, the best generally operated by Italian families, from which to choose in Lake Charles, La. We fought, quietly, over the merits of Abate's versus Mancuso's. My dad wouldn't allow an Abate tamale in his house. Doc Mancuso, who inherited a tamale cart from his father and built a fine little business from it, was a schoolmate of my father and Second Ward School ties ran deeper than blood or water with him. Doc made a great tamale and I believe his sister still carries on the family tradition.

Anyway, check out the Great Arkansas Tamale Hunt.


CONWAY, Ark. (AETN) —“AETN Presents: On the Tamale Trail” – featuring three Arkansans in search of the best tamales – will air on the Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 6:30 p.m.

   Culture, region, tradition, personal history, and a sense of place are all must-have ingredients for satisfying soul food. They simmer together over the decades to become one distinctive dish, in this case, tamales.

   “On the Tamale Trail” follows Kane Webb, teacher at Little Rock Catholic High; Rex Nelson, senior vice president for government relations and public outreach at The Communications Group; and Bill Vickery, political consultant and radio talk show host on KABZ FM Little Rock, as they search for some of the best tamales the Arkansas and Mississippi deltas have to offer.

   “AETN Presents: On the Tamale Trail” features Arkansas’s own restaurants Pasquale’s Tamales located in West Helena, owned by Joe and Joyce St. Columbia; and Rhoda’s Famous Hot Tamales located in Lake Village, owned by Rhoda Adams. Other featured restaurants include: Hicks’ World Famous Hot Tamales & More, University of Mississippi’s Southern Foodways Alliance, Abe Bar-B-Q, John’s Homestyle Hot Tamales, White Front Café, Doe’s Eat Place, and Maria’s Famous Hot Tamales.

   “AETN Presents” features a variety of arts and cultural subjects. Previously included in the series have been the Arkansas Acoustic Festival; performances by the Cate Brothers, Trout Fishing in America, Dale Hawkins, The Claudia Burson Trio, The Salty Dogs and Epiphany; and “On the Same Page” with authors Buzz Bissinger, Billy Collins, John T. Edge and Kenneth L. Smith.

Posted by Max Brantley on December


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