The long-shuttered Iron Horse in Austin sold tamales from a crockpot on the bartop

How do you feel about tackling a 30 ingredient recipe that yields eight tamales? Tamale production is always a bear but the result of a long day in the kitchen generally yields bushel baskets of tamales that you can freeze and then eat on over the next few months. That ain’t how Elizabeth Falkner likes to do it. Bored and restless? Try this formula for Collard Green Tamales from the James Beard site.

For the past 15 years Ofelia Barajas has earned her living selling tamales on the streets of San Francisco. That’s a tough way to earn a buck, and it was made even more difficult by her being an undocumented immigrant. When Barajas’ rent shot through the roof of her Mission district home she gathered up her cook-pots and family, and decamped to Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood where she’ll be vending tamales from her first brick and mortar: La Guerrera’s Kitchen inside the Aloha Club. link

Delia Lubin has built a tamale empire in the Rio Grande Valley in deep south Texas. The entrepreneur is most famous for the tamale riots that erupted in her two table restaurant in Mcallen back when Bill Clinton was president. Nowadays the one-time door to door tamale saleswoman presides over something of an empire with six locations scattered around the Texas border. Now she’s committed to spending $1.1 million on a brand-new facility in San Antonio where she will bump up against some stiff competition in the U.S’s 7th largest city. link

In 1969 Earlie Caldwell was 72 years old and preparing to retire from the tamale game in Athens Texas. Caldwell had started his tamale business in 1923 and was plumb tuckered.

You would be too.

Writer Rich Flowers takes a look back at the career of Caldwell in the Athens Review newspaper. link

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