How a Mexican Delicacy Became a Mississippi Staple

Consider the tamale—a humble, yet tasty Mexican dish of steamed corn husk filled with meat, veggies, cheese and other delectable ingredients. You might know tamales from your favorite lunch spot or go-to food truck. But little did you know that this Mesoamerican staple long ago made its way to the great state of Mississippi. Say what? This is a food story that begins (and ends) with family. Confused? Let us explain (and make you hungry).


This story is a part of our Flavors series, where we do so much more than play with our food. Come with us as we dive into deliciously different and tastefully off-beat stories in the culinary world.

Got a story idea for us? Shoot us an email at hey [at] GreatBigStory [dot] com

Follow us behind the scenes on Instagram:
Make our acquaintance on Facebook:
Give us a shout on Twitter:
Come hang with us on Vimeo:
Visit our world directly:

104 thoughts on “How a Mexican Delicacy Became a Mississippi Staple

    1. Uncle Bob – I can’t believe Morgan Freeman was a tamale this whole time, right under our noses… BAMBOOZLED!

    1. king gamer afnan hardly sounds like him, yes my ears are checked

    1. Bee Stee ehhh,I missed clicked and I ended with agreeing with the taco comment you said…im a lazy mofo…

    2. Tortes did someone say tortes 🤪😋😍😘 I love tortas I’ve only ate it once thought and I don’t know why

    1. When I was in Virginia and West Virginia they were more family oriented. More family gatherings and sitting down with fam to eat more.

    2. Kamla Anand Yeah, you’re born that way because two lesbian “life partners” can’t have kids, otherwise 😂

  1. But why are the tamales cooked in water, like submerged in it?

    I’ve only known it to be cooked in a steam cooker.

    1. Maybe you had crappy ones. The real authentic Mexican ones I have always eaten were always steamed and were not what you described.

    1. I’ve always called them tamale. My stepmother from Mexico calls them tamal. Tamal sounds so deep. But the rest of us Texicans call it a tamale. Just going with the flow.

  2. Many, many years ago Mexican migrants taught African American field workers how to make tamales. At the time, there was no masa harina so yellow corn meal was used and other tweaks here and there were made. No one is saying that they are identical to what you find in Mexico. The best hot tamales in MS (That means Mississippi. Some might not know that this is the state’s postal abbreviation)are in Greenville–Scott’s are the BEST! Doe’s is down the street from my family’s church.
    Dang it! Now I have to get some shipped to me. I’m hungry!

    1. msrjjon tamales in Mexico are made with corn. Nobody uses harina to make tamales. In Mexico harinas and tamales do not exist.

    1. I like the fact that tamales are so famous so far away, but those are way too thin, real tamales are E X T R A T H I C C so you eat 2 or 3 not 15 of these little ones for been satisfied.

    1. Tamal inside a bolillo or telera is called guajolota… so good with a good cup of hot champurrado!

    2. Torta.- Telera or bolillo filled with any kind of ingredient like scrambled eggs, queso de puerco, straight up ham, cheese, jalapaeños, beans, chorizo, weiners , aguacate etc…
      Lonche.- In Jalisco, you ask for a lonche in the corner store. A unique type of bread called birote, made only in Jalisco, filled with puerco adobado or ham and cheese, with cream and jalapeños.
      Torta ahogada.- Created in Jalisco. Good for the hangover. Birote filled with carnitas (any part of the pig) and a spread of beens. Then dipped or covered in a tomato based salsa and a spicy salsa.
      Cemita.- You find it in Puebla, a salty and soft bread, inside of it you will find a breaded piece of chicken called milanesa, queso oaxaca and the rest is up to you.
      Torta de tamal.- Bolillo with a tamale inisde, simple as that.
      These are all sandwiches.

    3. pcbgatlas… sin duda que eres Paisa 100% 😂😂 No efensas. Solo que reconco a mi jente por la forma de hablar. Saludos 🤣🤣

    1. i think he compares it to a sandwich because anyone can make it quick and it’s found everywhere but that’s actually not the case…tamales take hours to make, steam, and they’re not very easy to eat.

    1. tommyelena
      Tamale in American English it’s like the word “sheep” is now. It can mean one tamal or all of them.

    2. oltedders what who decided on that? It’s either Tamal or tamales dang why is it so hard for Americans to understand that smh

    3. Americans always want to name things their way instead of respecting the originators. Sort of calling Mexican vaqueros buckaroos, or changing the name from Yuta to Utah and from Montaña to Montana.

Comments are closed.