2007 Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award – Elizabeth Scott, Tamale Maker
In 1941, Mississippi natives Aaron and Elizabeth Scott called San Antonio, Texas, home. Aaron served in the U.S. Army. During their time in Texas, Elizabeth developed a taste for hot tamales. Rather than continue buying them, Aaron decided they should try making them at home, so he bought a tamale recipe from a local Mexican man. The first time they tried making tamales in their own kitchen, Elizabeth and her husband worked for sixteen hours through the night. They didn’t even have a dozen hot tamales when they were finished. When they moved back home to Mississippi in 1950, they had perfected their recipe and their craft enough to start a side business selling them on Nelson Street in downtown Greenville. Aaron Scott passed away in 1987. Elizabeth retired from the tamale business in 2001 at age seventy-eight. But six of their nine children--and even some grandchildren--are carrying on the family business. Today, Scott’s Hot Tamale stand can be found on Martin Luther King Boulevard in Greenville. The location has changed, but their corn shuck-wrapped beef brisket hot tamales remain the same.