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.

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