Tamales, Delta Style
While these tasty bundles are associated with the Southwest, they've been enjoyed in the Mississippi Delta since the 1920s. Mississippians simmer tamales sprinkled with a dry spice mixture or soaked in a spicy red sauce in a large covered pot. The cooked tamales are unwrapped and served "wet" (or Delta style) with the liquid they were cooked in spooned over them. Texans generally cook tamales by steaming them in a steamer basket over boiling water. In contrast to spicy Texas tamales, Delta tamales are moister and more subtly seasoned. Whichever style you choose the proof is in the eating--they're both delicious.Here is another tamale recipe for you to try: Helena Tamales
Hospitality in The Delta is legendary. Jamie and Jenny Smith of Merigold, Mississippi, personalize their entertaining by focusing on the beauty of a summer sunset. The couple's roots go deep into the clay of this area: They are part of the McCarty family, whose pottery is internationally renowned.
At the end of a day spent molding clay, the best elixir for unwinding is to gather with friends. The Smiths' menu showcases regional foods and is stocked with make-ahead recipes. In fact, this easygoing repast needs just a few last-minute touches. Once everyone serves up a plate of tempting favorites, they're ready to toast the gorgeous sun as it slips away over the flat and fertile land.
Pottery With A Heritage
All of the decorative and serving items pictured in this story are pieces of McCartys Pottery. Each item is made from Mississippi clay and is glazed in trademark nutmeg brown, jade green, or blue. Pieces may also include a vertical black squiggle designed to represent the Mississippi River.
You can purchase the pottery at their studio, The Barn, 101 South Saint Mary Street, Merigold, MS 38759; www.mccartyspottery.com or (662) 748-2293.
"Sundown in The Delta" is from the June 2007 issue of Southern Living.