In the fall of 2019, if all goes according to plan, New York City–based chef Marcus Samuelsson will release a cookbook called A Moving Feast: Recipes and Stories of Soul Food’s Journey North. Through the lens of food, it will share accounts of the Great Migration, the massive movement of black people from the rural South to the urban centers of the Northeast and Midwest during the 20th century.
A Moving Feast will feature more than 100 photographs of food, restaurants, chefs, and cooks that characterize the Great Migration. Nearly every image will have been captured by photographer Angie Mosier, a lifelong Atlantan who is preternaturally talented, excessively humble, and unmistakably white.
Her portfolio, though, is a melting pot. Mosier’s diverse portrait subjects, from pitmasters to oyster shuckers to Michelin-starred chefs, have a few commonalities: In front of her lens, they appear confident and unguarded, humble yet elevated. A student of history and member of organizations like the Southern Foodways Alliance and the Atlanta History Center, Mosier has long been drawn to the story of the Great Migration. “This is a project that I really, really wanted,” she says. “It’s a subject I’m passionate about.”
Mosier’s photography filled the pages of three influential Southern cookbooks, each a celebration of the region’s multiculturalism, published in 2018 alone: Turnip Greens & Tortillas by Eddie Hernandez, Secrets of the Southern Table by Virginia Willis, and Soul by Todd Richards. She also contributed to Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon, due out this month. (Yes, that Reese Witherspoon.)
Those who know Mosier—and it seems everyone in the food world does—won’t be surprised to learn that her race was not an issue for Samuelsson or his team. “I don’t think it ever even came up,” says Leslie Stoker, Samuelsson’s project manager. As for why they chose Mosier, Stoker says: “Angie just brings such humanity and grace to every picture she takes.”
At the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival in late spring, John Currence, the James Beard Award–winning chef of City Grocery in Oxford, Mississippi, spoke about his experience working with Mosier on his first cookbook, Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey. “We got into it instinctively, from the very beginning,” Currence said. “Being in proximity to Angie, watching how she worked, it really kicked in this whole new gear of capability.”
The intent behind A Moving Feast is to deepen our understanding of history by further humanizing it. The text will be a collection of essays and recipes from black chefs across the country, sharing family stories and personal experiences. Mosier hopes that her photographic interpretations of them, their food, and the worlds they inhabit will have an outsized effect on readers’ perceptions of the role of black cooking in the country’s culinary history.
She says she’s ready for the responsibility she’s been given and for the challenge of visually capturing such complicated stories. “I’ve already taken photos of Leah Chase, and she is a queen,” Mosier says, referring to the legendary New Orleans chef and civil rights activist. “If I can do her justice, I’ll feel good about the rest of the book.”
This article appears in our September 2018 issue.