Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Rhoda's Famous Hot Tamales and Pies Are Worthy of a Pilgrimage to Lake Village.
down the road, going through Eudora to Tellulah, LA to get on I-20.
Well, there was a problem. Not far from Mound, the traffic came to a dead stop. We waited on the pavement a while, and when traffic scooted up to a state trooper standing by the road, we asked him what was going on. Turns out a barge had hit the Mississippi Bridge at Vicksburg, and an inspector was on the way to make sure it was safe.
We did what most anyone would do – pulled off the road and waited. Except the exit we pulled off at had just two businesses – and there was standing room only at the gas station. So we pulled into the other parking lot, that of an adult store. And being hungry, we dug into that sack of tamales.
It would go to figure that when this package had been unwrapped in my lap, that I’d remember I didn’t have any sort of utensils with me. It didn’t matter… we ate them with our fingers out of the remnants of that package, and at that moment it was the best thing I’d ever eaten in my life.
Rhoda started with sweet potato pie, and the Arkansas Pie book will tell you more about that. And she’s famous for those tamales, not just because they’re good but because she’s one of the few stops on the Tamale Trail (Pasquale’s being one of the few other Arkansas entries in a Mississippi dominated list) and she does good press. She can also talk the legs off a mule; a few months back I was down there with a group of my colleagues and I was determined not to get more than a little pie, one of those little three inch pies, for lunch. I walked in and got my lunch and she told me I was going to buy one of her half-and-half pecan and sweet potato pies. And she was right. I did.
Rhoda Adams recently changed her sign. I don't know if I had any influence on it or not, but I'd like to think I did. It's now Rhoda's Famous Hot Tamales and Pies, like it was when it was first opened, a sign once again hand lettered red and black on a whitewashed board above the door. Rhoda's isn't anything fancy, but Ms. Adams knows how to make good food and how to market herself well. She's an Arkansas classic. Get yourself down to Lake Village and turn on St. Mary's Street. And don't cry if you miss the tamales, because you know she's going to hook you up with some pie.
Like this story? Check out Classic Eateries of the Arkansas Delta.