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Eating tamales in old-time Phoenix


Lately I've been thinking about tamales. I grew up in Minnesota, and had never even tasted Mexican food until I moved to Phoenix when I was 19. But I've spent all of my adult life in Arizona, and California, and lately I've been hungry for tamales.

Oddly enough, I've never eaten a tamale from a restaurant. I've always had friends and neighbors who made tamales. So when I mentioned to a friend recently that I was hungry for a tamale, he wondered why I didn't just go to a good Mexican Food restaurant. And I know a lot of them! Right now, however, I want to time-travel to the Ramona Candy Kitchen in Phoenix in 1920, and get some tamales. They sound good! Come along with me!

The Occidental Boarding House in 1922, Central Avenue south of Monroe, just north of the Heard Building, along Melinda's Alley.

They're at 2nd Avenue and Washington, so we can easily walk there. Phoenix isn't very big in 1920, and besides we live in the Occidental Boarding House on Central just south of Monroe, so it's not too far to walk. How much money do you have? That should be plenty, I'll pay you back.

You don't know what a tamale is? Really? Well, let me tell you, they're, uh, well, I'm not sure, but they're delicious. The ad for the Ramona says they're fresh, and I can hardly wait.

What? Sure, you can have chili con carne. You can have noodles and chop suey if you want. It's a candy store, you could probably just have candy. It makes no never mind to me, as long as I get tamales.

Here we are: The Ramona Candy Kitchen. I can smell the tamales! What's that sign say? Closed for lunch? Well, let's just sit here and wait, it'll be worth it, I'm sure!

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