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Oh, this is right down my nerdy little alley. There is going to be a talk on “A Brief History of Tamales” on Thursday, November 19, 2009, 6:00-7:00 p.m. (Reception to follow 7:00-7:30 p.m.) The speaker is Claudia Alarcón (she writes on food for the Austin Chronicle) and she’s going to reveal all sorts of cool tamale trivia, like, well, the ancient Maya and Aztecs had no pork tamales! No pork tamales for them! Pigs did not get to the New World until the Spanish lugged them over around 1520. So the Aztecs and Maya made do with armadillo and iguana tamales, probably had some turkey ones too. (I once ate an iguana tamale in Oaxaca about twenty years ago at a little tiny restaurant, more like somebody’s house, that specialized in indigenous Mexican cuisine. Tasted like reptilian chicken.) Anyway, Alarcon’s talk is free and open to the public, and it will take place at the ATT Education Room, Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside Dr., in Austin. (It’s sponsored by the Mexican Center, Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, College of Liberal Arts, at UT Austin. For more information please contact the Mexican Center [email protected], or [email protected] More talks are coming up in this three-part series.)