Tamales originated in Meso-America. In times of war, masa, a corn-based dough was an easily portable food for the Mayan, Inca and Aztecs. The Tamale was served to the Spanish during the Inquisition, and eventually brought to what is now Robeline, Louisiana.
Some historians suggest U.S. soldiers learn to make tamales during the Mexican-American War. Others credit them to Native American cultures. But, most believe they made their way through the Mississippi Delta when migrant workers shared the fields with African Americans... who brought the ‘hot’ to the tamale inspiring "They're Red Hot" by Robert Johnson, later covered by Eric Clapton and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
The Annual Tamale Fiesta is created and the tamale debuts at the Chicago’s World Fair. Joey “Jaws” Chestnut sets a new world record and the First National Tamale Day is established. The tamale is a cultural staple with over 500 different styles served at holidays and celebrations.