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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region.

ORAL HISTORY

Eugene and Betty Hicks


Eugene Hicks, born in 1944, has been making hot tamales since 1960. Acy Ware, who peddled tamales on the streets of Clarksdale, gave Hicks his recipe. In 1970, Hicks opened his first restaurant. The recipe has changed a bit over the years as he has experimented with different meats and spices. Hicks has never committed a recipe to writing, though. He works alone to cook and spice the meat, keeping the secrets to himself. What is no secret, though, are the custom devices and ingenious methods of production he has created. As a result, Hicks can produce ten times the amount of hot tamales that could be made by hand.

Date of interview:
2005-08-19 00:00

Interviewer:
Amy C. Evans

Photographer:
Amy C. Evans

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