In 2009 Allan Nation wrote a two-part food history of the South for Als Obs. Intrigued readers wanted to know more. The Moving Feast, A cultural history of the food heritage of Southeast Mississippi tells the rest of the story.
Focusing on Southeast Mississippi and the South in general, The Moving Feast describes how the agricultural practices, climate, land, and human culture influenced what our ancestors ate. The lessons from this corner of the state apply generally to the development that occurred in other areas of the USA during our country’s expansion. Salt, ice, railroads, and the Interstate highway all impacted local food production. In 1936 Hattiesburg, Mississippi, a trade area of 180,000 people, supported 28,000 full-time farmers who earned a wage 25% greater than urban workers. Food traveled 40 miles from farm to table in 1940. Today food product distances are 1500 miles or more.
Throughout the book, food and history anecdotes add insight to the Indian, European, African, Celtic and Cracker cultures who shaped this region. For example, did you know that Southern fried chicken resulted from the marriage of Celtic and African foods? That a little Mississippi town called Kiln supplied the whiskey for Al Capone’s Chicago speakeasies? That cornbread was eaten in the South because wheat for white breads didn’t grow well in the humid climate?
By studying the successful practices of the past, Nation shows how we can create a healthier lifestyle today. In a vision for the future he presents a win-win production model of cattle grazing along with timber management, and he shows how “old-fashioned” farming and foods can be self-sustaining. The final pages list health benefits of heritage foods.
Stockman Grass Farmer readers who were intrigued by the two-part Al's Obs will find The Moving Feast even more insightful and entertaining. He writes, “I am hoping that this “Heritage Food” movement that is starting in the Deep South will grow and spread across our country. People everywhere once fed themselves without petroleum inputs by working with what God gave them in their locality. We can do that again.”
Softcover. 140 pages.
Weight. 1 pound.