Of Labor and Tamales


Of Labor and Tamales
Rhoda Adams, James Adams, Dorothy Adams Mitchell, Beatrice McGhee

Today is Labor Day, and to mark the occasion we want to celebrate the labor of the late Rhoda Adams, owner of Rhoda’s Famous Hot Tamales & Pies in Lake Village.

Adams died late last month at the age of 85, having won nationwide acclaim not just for her tamales but for her soul food and pies. Her restaurant was inducted into the first class of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame in 2017, along with the Lassis Inn in Little Rock and Jones Bar-B-Q Diner in Marianna.

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We tried to avoid using the cliche “labor of love,” but what are you going to do when that’s exactly how Adams worked? “She cooked her food with love,” her son, James Adams III, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “And my Momma loved people. She loved everybody,” added her daughter, Dorothy Adams Mitchell. “She loved her customers.”

“She was a legend in our community and the state of Arkansas,” JoAnne Bush, the former mayor of Lake Village and a friend of Adams, told the newspaper. “Rhoda loved her Lord, her family and she loved serving the people of our community.”

There’s that word again.

Few of us are lucky enough to make a living doing what we love to do — Adams herself reportedly didn’t like making her famous tamales without the help of a machine. But performing our tasks with some of the joy and the sense of service demonstrated by this remarkable woman can’t help but make them a bit easier.