This Greenville, Mississippi, hole in the wall is home to the first family of Mississippi tamales.

Other than being another must-stop in the Mississippi Delta, Greenville is home to some mighty fine eats. You have to pop into the popular Doe's Eat Place for fine Southern cooking and a cheerful welcome by Aunt Flo, the 91-year-old local icon who has been helping out at the restaurant for decades. But you can't leave the town until you've stopped at the easy-to-miss Scott's Hot Tamales. The red-and-white shack is barely the size of a snow cone stand, but it's been serving up famous tamales (beef brisket, corn meal, and a whole bunch of spices wrapped in corn husks) since the 1950s. You can attend the Delta Hot Tamale Festival every October for tamale cook-offs, countless tamale vendors, and a Hot Tamale eating contest. The small town has seen the likes of great Southern writers, famous blues musicians, and everything in between—all of which helped form that Mississippi soul. Popular Delta towns, Clarksdale and Greenwood, are just short drives away.
Jennifer Davick

Scott's Hot Tamales in Greenville, Mississippi, is barely the size of a snow-cone stand. If you are driving north on MLK Boulevard, it's easy to miss the red-and-white walk-up. The main clue for those hunting Elizabeth Scott's famous tamales? Cars. Lots of cars. People carry off the Delta's best by the dozen from sundown to past midnight.

The cravings began around 1950, when Elizabeth and her husband, Aaron, moved to Greenville with a tamale recipe he'd bought from a cook in San Antonio. The Scotts first sold tamales from a wooden pushcart and station wagon in Bolivar County.

More than 50 years later, Elizabeth, 87, has passed the award-winning tradition to her five daughters and oldest son, plus several grandchildren, who hand make thousands of tamales a week at the family's farmhouse in Metcalf outside Greenville. Tuesdays and Thursdays are tamale days at Elizabeth's house, where her daughters and granddaughters hand-wash each corn shuck and slow-cook the beef brisket filling in a small room next to the kitchen.

When I visit, Elizabeth is resting in her sitting parlor. "Do I still make them?" she says. "No, I retired. But I like being near." What she and her husband began six decades ago is relatively unchanged. Elizabeth's glassy eyes observe the room, and she quietly says to me, "This is nice."

304 MLK Blvd., 662/332-4013