Published 12:00 am Monday, November 3, 2008

GROCERIES’|Old Court House cooking up history

With as many historic photos of Vicksburg as there are local family recipes, “Moore Groceries” has been released by the Vicksburg and Warren County Historical Society and should appeal equally to history and kitchen buffs. 

“The recipes are great, but the photography, history and genealogy really make this a unique cookbook,” said Denise Sassone, who gathered the 161 recipes contained in the 204-page, hardcover book.

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Along with old family and new recipes for appetizers, entrées, soups and desserts, is perhaps the largest collection now in print of photos by J. Mack Moore. Born and reared in Vicksburg, Moore used only natural sunlight to capture his images of his hometown — some of which have been reproduced the world over in textbooks. Moore practiced the precise method of glass negative photography and specialized in streetscapes, steamboats and dedications of monuments in the Vicksburg National Military Park.

Old Court House Museum Curator George “Bubba” Bolm said the museum’s collection boasts about 2,200 photos taken by Moore, who lived from 1869 to 1954 and took the majority of his photos in the first few decades of the 20th century.

“Because of the quality of the glass negatives, we were able to scan them onto a computer and produce some amazing photos for the cookbook,” said Martha Whitaker, who edited the book and is a member of the historical society.

Because of the remarkable clarity of the photos, many of the people in them were able to be identified and in many cases Whitaker was able to pair recipes provided by Vicksburg residents with photos of their ancestors. 

“I suspect there’s a lot of people who have ancestors in this book who have no idea these photos were ever taken,” Whitaker said. “There’s no telling what connections people might make when they go through the book.”

A year and a half in the making, “Moore Groceries” is the first cookbook to be produced in about 50 years by the Vicksburg and Warren County Historical Society, which created the museum in Warren County’s old courthouse and has operated it since the new courthouse was opened, said Sassone, who serves on the society’s advisory council.

“I never imagined it would turn out to be such a wonderful book,” she said.

“Moore Groceries” retails for $24.95, and is available at the Old Court House Museum as well as most gift shops and bookstores in Vicksburg. The book will also be sold at some stores in the Jackson area. Proceeds from the book will benefit the historical society.


Contact Steve Sanoski at ssanoski@vicksburgpost.com.