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 November 26, 2008
Turkey Tamale Pie (Turkey Tamales)

Tamales are often made with pork, but turkey tamales have been popular on Thanksgiving. “Turkey tamales” are cited in print from at least 1897.

A turkey tamale pie often includes tomatoes, onions and corn, with a cornmeal crust and sometimes topped with cheese. “Turkey tamale pie” is cited in print from at least 1943.


24 November 1897, Nevada State Journal (Renp, NV), pg. 2, col. 2:
Turkey tamales at Thyes’ commencing to-night at 6 o’clock. If you want a treat try one.

20 July 1904, Anaconda (MT) Standard, pg. 9, col. 1 ad:
Chicken or turkey tamales; 2 cans...25c

7 January 1918, Ogden (UT) Standard, pg. 5, col. 3:
Turkey Tamale.
2 cups cornmeal
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 cups boiling water
1 onion
1 tablespoon fat
1 pound turkey meat
2 cups tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
Make a mush by stirring the cornmeal and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt into boiling water. Cook in a double boiler or over water for 45 minutes. Brown the onion in the fat, add the turkey meat and stir about 5 minutes. Add the tomato, pepper and salt. Grease a baking dish, put in a layer of cornmeal mush, add the seasoned meat, and cover with mush. Bake 30 minutes.

24 February 1928, Reno (NV) Evening Gazette, pg. 14, col. 8 ad:
Turkey Tamales
For the Next 3 Days

(Overland Cafe—ed.)

2 December 1932, Helena (MT) Daily Independent, pg. 3, col. 7:
To demonstrate his support of the turkey business, the good natured Chinese leader of Helena’s Oriental colony, is serving turkey clubhouse sandwiches, hot turkey tamales and similar toothsome turkey dishes to his patrons.

26 November 1943, Charleroi (PA) Mail, pg. 3, col. 5:
TURKEY TAMALE PIE
Combine 1/4 cup sauteed chopped onion, 1 cup chopped cooked turkey, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder, 1 cup tomato juice; simmer 5 minutes. Beat 1 egg; add to 2 cups hot cooked corn meal. Add tomato mixture; mix. Bake in greased casserole in moderate oven (350F.) 45 minues. Garnish with green pepper slices. Serves 4.

5 January 1951, Portland (ME) Press Herald, pg. 16, cols. 4-6:
“Turkey Tamale Pie” is an excellent way to use leftover turkey. This entree is a hearty one and made to taste exceptionally good with ripe olives which give richness and unique flavor. A tossed green salad and a dessert is all that is needed to complete the meal.

Turkey Tamale Pie
2/3 cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons oil
2 cups canned whole kernel corn
2 cups canned tomatoes
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups diced cooked turkey
1 cup ripe olives
Grated American cheese
Cook onion slowly in oil until wilted but not browned. Blend in corn, tomatoes, chili powder, salt and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer 10 minutes. Stir in turkey and olives (cut part of olives from pits, if desired, and leave some whole). Turn mixture into small baking dish and top with cheese. Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees F.) about 30 minutes.

7 April 1956, Modesto (CA) Bee, pg. 18A, cols. 2-3:
Turkey Tamale Pie
Filling
4 cups cubed turkey
1 No. 2 can solid pack tomatoes
1 No. 2 can whole kernel corn
1 cup of 1 can pitted olives
3 tablespoons butter, oil, or shortening
1 medium large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cloves
Salt and pepper to taste.
Corn Meal Crust
1 cup yellow corn meal
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt.
Melt shortening in large heavy skillet. Add onion and pepper. Cook over low heat until transparent. Add turkey, tomatoes, corn and spices. Let simmer slowly 20 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal. Cook until thickened. Remove from heat and add olives.

Add salt to water and bring to a boil. Add corn meal. Cook over double boiler for 30 minutes. Cool and line large casserole with mush, saving enough for top. Add filling, hen cornmeal mush topping. Sprinle with paprika. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Makes enough for 8 to 10 servings. Any leftovers may be frozen for later use.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Wednesday, November 26, 2008 • Permalink