This is the first in our on-going series of interview samples we'll be posting here each month, highlighting work from the SFA's Oral History Initiative.
"I always used to tell folks, making hot tamales is like making corn whiskey, you'll never get the same thing out twice. Makes no difference what you do, it won't come out the same twice." --Shine Thornton
Shine Thornton of Greenville, Mississippi, has been making hot tamales for twenty years. He named his business "Maria's Famous Hot Tamales" after his wife of fifty-six years, Mary Thornton, whose family is from Palermo, Sicily. The image above is of Mr. Thornton in his kitchen at home, holding a photograph of he and his wife, which was taken around the time of their marriage.
This interview is part of the Mississippi Delta Hot Tamale Trail project. Interview and photograph by Amy Evans.