Grace MacNeil lecture will be deliciously good

Published 12:42 am Sunday, March 19, 2017

If you have lived in Natchez for any length of time you know that we use “any excuse to have a party,” and the parties in Natchez are famous for marvelous food and drinks. By attending the 2017 Grace MacNeil Lecture on Tuesday, March 28, you may hear about some recipes that have been passed down through generations, and may have been served at one of the fabulous parties in long ago Natchez. The Annual Grace MacNeil Lecture, made possible by an endowment by the family of Mrs. Grace MacNeil is an event that is sponsored by the Natchez Historical Society and is always the highlight of the society’s programs for the year.  The program will be at The Historic Natchez Foundation, 108 South Commerce St.

The topic of the program, presented by Jennifer Brannock and Andrew P. Haley, is titled, “Dining from Natchez to Columbia:  Community Cookbooks and What They Tell About Mississippi’s Past.”

Jennifer Brannock, with a bachelor of arts in art history and a masters of science in library science from the University of Kentucky, is professor and curator of rare books and Mississippiana at the University of Southern Mississippi.  Prior to her current position at the USM, Jennifer served as the Kress Fellow in art librarianship at Yale University working with bookplate collection. Her work in special collections at USM consists of coordinating bibliographic instruction, supervising general reference activities, coordinating outreach efforts, curating exhibits, conducting collection development and management activities for Mississippiana, rare books and genealogy.  Her research interests include special collections outreach, reference service and popular culture.  Jennifer is currently working on a book proposal about Mississippi author Con Sellers, his sleaze publications and his mid-century ideas about gender and sexuality.

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Andrew P. Haley, with a doctoral degree from the University of Pittsburgh, is an associate professor at USM where he studies and teaches class and culture in the United States from the Gilded Age through the 1950s.  His first book, “Turning the Tables: American Restaurant Culture and the Rise of the Middle Class, 1880-1920,” won the 2012 James Beard Award for Scholarship and Reference and was a finalist for the International Association of Culinary Professionals’ 2012 Book Award for Culinary History.  In his book, Andrew argues that changes in restaurant culture at the turn of the century — battles over French language menus, scientific eating and cosmopolitan cuisine — demonstrate the growing influence of urban middle class consumers.  Andrew is currently working on a digital humanities project and book that considers how 20th century community cookbooks published in Mississippi addressed changing racial and gender politics and resolved tensions between local and national culture.  He is also working on projects that look at the global history of restaurants, children and dining.

Everyone is invited to come and enjoy the Natchez Historical Society’s Annual Grace MacNeil Lecture on Tuesday, March 28, at The Historic Natchez Foundation, 108 South Commerce Street.  There is no charge for this event. A social gathering begins at 6:30 p.m. because we always have food and drinks in Natchez.  The program begins at 7 p.m.  For information, call President Charlie Vess at 601-446-6461.
Kathy King is a member of the Natchez Historical Society.