A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 27, 2008
Tamale Sandwich (hot tamale on a bun; hot tamale bun)

A “tamale sandwich” is a hot tamale between two slices of bread (similar to, for example, a hamburger or a hot dog). The hot tamale sandwich is sometimes called a “mother-in-law sandwich” when it’s served with chili. Gedhardt’s Mexican Foods (San Antonio, TX) promoted “chili and tamale sandwiches” in the 1960s-1970s.

The “tamale sandwich” (or “tamale on a bun") is rarely served in Texas. The “mother-in-law sandwich” has been a specialty of Chicago’s south side since the 1970s, and the “hot tamale on a bun” has been served in Wisconsin since at least the 1950s and 1960s.


29 February 1936, Evening Independent (Massillon, OH), pg. 1, col. 1:
BERWICH HOTEL TONIGHT
Music by Papa Katz and his three Kittens, popular radio stars of WJW. Hot tamale sandwich 10c.—Ad.

20 September 1937, Sheboygan (WI) Journal, pg. 4, col. 2:
Mrs. Jenkins laid bare great stacks of hot tamale sandwiches and case upon case of soda pop.

8 August 1951, Albuquerque (NM) Tribune, pg. 9, col. 1 ad:
HOT TAMALE BUN
(Tesuque Drive-In—ed.)

13 March 1953, Sheboygan (WI) Journal, pg. 9, col. 1:
The menu will include hot tamale sandwiches, potato chips, chocolate milk and ice cream.

3 August 1956, Sheboygan (WI) Journal, pg. 3, col. 1 ad:
Combination Sandwich Special
Hot Tamale on a bun with a glass of Coca Cola 20c
(Edward’s Restaurant—ed.)

30 April 1958, San Mateo (CA) Times, pg. 73?, col. 2:
Teenagers are terrific eaters! But here’s a tamale sandwich which may quell even those “empty tank on two legs” appetites—and it’s tantalizingly good! Place a slice of tomato on buttered toast, and place 2 GEBHARDT’S Tamales (heated) on top. Put a fried egg on the tamales and pour hot cheese sauce over all. Serve hot. Now, who’s hungry?

29 March 1967, Daily Review (Hayward, CA), pg. 27?, col. 7:
CHILI AND TAMALE SANDWICHES
(Serves 3)
3 hamburger buns
6 slices American cheese
6 tamales (15 1/2 oz. can) split in half, lengthwise
1/2 cup grated cheese
1 can chili con carne with beans (1 1/2 lbs.)

Split and lightly butter buns. Arrange cheese and tamales on top. Top with grated cheese. Broil just until cheese begins to melt and tamales are hot. Meanwhile, heat chili con carne. Spoon on top of tamale sandwich and serve hot with celery sticks and radish roses garnish.

10 September 1969, Manitowoc (WI) Herald-Times, “Start School Hot Lunches on Monday,” pg. M19, col. 1:
Wednesday—Hot tamale on a bun, potato chips, seasoned yellow beans, chilled pear half.

1 December 1974, Paris (TX) News, “Combine Chili With Tamales in Sandwiches,” pg. 10B, cols. 6-8:
To make an extra special lunch, home economists at Gebhardt Mexican Foods suggest combination chili and tamale sandwiches. This is also an extra quick lunch, for all you have to do is heat chili con carne with beans and lightly roil some canned tamales.

CHILI AND TAMALE SANDWICHES
(Serves 4)
4 hamburger buns
8 slices American cheese
8 Gebhardt tamales split in half, lengthwise
3/4 cup grated cheese
2 cans (15 ounces each) Gebhardt chili con carne with beans

Split and lightly butter buns. Arrange cheese and tamales on top. Top with grated cheese. Broil just until cheese begins to melt and tamales are hot. Meanwhile, heat chili con carne. Spoon on top of tamale sandwich and serve hot with celery sticks and radish roses garnish.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Thursday, March 27, 2008 • Permalink