The Southern Discomfort Tour

The Southern Discomfort Tour will lead us through the places my ancestors were enslaved as well as places of cultural memory related to slavery and the development and history of Southern cuisine. We are blogging and taking photos and video the entire way to document our journey and the historical narrative we uncover. I’m cooking and demonstrating historic foodways the entire way.
Update:  If you have not read our FAQ’s please do so!  We launched! We are counting on YOU readers to spread the word and get the word out to everybody you know through Facebook, Twitter, email and text.    Please consider donating a few bucks or more to our project to see it off the ground. 

Update:  If you can in any way contribute to our project through research, suggestions, media resources and connections we would GREATLY appreciated.  Please see the list below for the 21 ways you can help us achieve a rich and meaningful journey for all of us as we explore the culinary past!

Right now this route is pretty set in stone–but we are looking to connect and partner with different people and places in the following areas of our journey:

From Maryland to Louisiana and back–taking two separate routes. —-We will be visiting Baltimore, AnnapolisMD, Washington, D.C., Alexandria VA, Southern Maryland, Richmond VA, Petersburg VA, Farmville VA, Appomattox VA, Lynchburg, VA, Winston-Salem NC, Charlotte NC, Lancaster SC, Columbia SC, Redcliffe State Park SC, Augusta GA, Athens GA, Atlanta GA, Anniston AL, Birmingham AL, Tuscaloosa AL, Huntsville AL, Nashville TN, Memphis TN, Oxford MS, Jackson MS, Vicksburg MS, Natchez MS, Donaldsonville LA, New Orleans LA, Baton Rouge LA, Lafayette LA, Biloxi MS, Mobile AL, Montgomery AL, Russell County AL, Columbus GA, Jacksonville FL, Savannah GA, Daufuskie Island SC, Charleston SC, Georgetown SC, Wilmington NC, Raleigh-Durham NC, Halifax NC, Creswell, NC, Hampton Roads (Surry County, Williamsburg, Jamestown and Norfolk VA), Dorchester County MD, Easton MD—-

We need your help if you are:
1. Historical Societies in the counties in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama that we visit.
2. Genealogists (We have an Adopt an Ancestor program!)
3. State Departments of Agriculture
4. State Departments of Tourism.
5. Museums and Cultural Sites from the Colonial and Antebellum Period, or related to African American or State history. (We are looking for opportunities to speak for a small honorarium to further support our efforts and the return home.)
6. Zoos and Aquariums
7. Houses of Worship
8. Organizations that promote Local Food/Sustainability/Local Food Systems
9. Open to hosting guests! (We LOVE old couches!!!)
10. African American Farmers
11. Family Reunions
12. Chapters of Slow Food
13. Civil Rights and Slavery Museums
14. Local Radio/TV/Newspaper
15. Local Food Bloggers
16. Farmer’s Markets
17. Chefs and Restaurateurs
18. Descendants of Our Family’s Owners—Surnames: (South Carolina) Twitty, Reaves/Reeves, Mungo, Pate, Haines. (Virginia) Todd, Booker, Saunders, Mitchell, Branch, Bowen. (North Carolina)–Merritt, Shadwick, Bellamy,Bowen. (Alabama) Bellamy, Hancock, Hughes, Townsend. (Tennessee) Townsend.
19. People Related to Me
20. Farm to Table Restaurants
21. Professors, Academics and like-minded Community Activists….


23 Replies to “The Southern Discomfort Tour”

  1. Mr. Twitty,

    I am interested in hearing you speak. I am also wondering what you know about St. Mary’s County stuffed ham. Can you please let me know if you are speaking in DC, Baltimore/Annapolis or even Richmond area. I am at Historic St. Mary’s City.

    Many thanks,
    Elizabeth Nosek

    1. Elizabeth–PLEASE spread the word to everybody you know via social media and by email–just post our links and let them know what we are doing! We are counting on everybody’s support–and its free and takes very little time to spread the word! THANK YOU for reading our blog 🙂 Michael

  2. Hello Michael, thank you for doing this. I took Culinary Classesat several university and it always Euro-Centric, Europe is not the center of the universe. I had several “livey” discussions with a few of my instructors about Carribean , African and Asian influence on our American culinary arts. Anyway please visit Charleston, my best friend grandmother Mama Lou has a place that has been on travel channel and she has been cooking for over 60 years and his a walking history book, Please include her in your travels i will get her address and number for you. i recently moved from Greenville SC to Alexandria VA. please let me know if we can assist you on your quest,,,God bless!

  3. Have you considered a visit to the Kentucky/Southern Ohio area at all? Your story is one that I feel needs to be shared with a larger audience.

    1. Ideally–we DO want to go to EVERY former slaveholding state–including Kentucky, Delaware, West Virginia, Missouri, Texas, Arkanasas, Oklahoma and definitely want to visit border areas like Southern Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas and back to Pennsylvania for more research and presentations! I have been doing a lot of work with the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh around the Underground Railroad heritage of Pitt and Western PA! If you know places we should present for or visit or do community service with–please don’t leave it at that–give us an itinerary and we will go!

  4. I see you’re headed through Lynchburg. Depending on the timing,I think the James River Batteau Reenactors (Virginia Canals & Navigation Society) and the public would be interested in hearing what you have to say about cooking on the James River Batteau – historically run by plantation slaves, but also run by independent businessmen – both white and black. Contact me if you interested .Ellen Neal,

  5. Hi Michael! I just read about this tour on Grist. Have you considered stopping by Truly Living Well Center ( and/or speaking with founder Rashid Nuri when you come through Atlanta? I recently became aware of them through an Urban Agriculture training program that I am participating in and I have (so far) volunteered twice at their heart of downtown, near the MLK National Historic Site, Wheat Street Garden location. It seems like it would be a great match as part of your tour

  6. I am beginning a genealogical research project on my great-grandmother. Her father is listed in the census as a farmer in Abbeville, SC. He also owned slaves -I don’t know much more yet. As a cook and an artist there are many features of your endeavor that intersect with my interests. Depending on dates I may have a bed or two to offer in Pittsboro, NC. In any case I would like to be in touch. I may be in DC the first few days of June. Please email if there is a chance I could talk with you.

  7. I have 2 spare bedrooms for people who need a place to stay. My house is in guntersville Alabama 35876 in Marshall county. It is between Anniston and huntsville. Thank you for your cooking, research, and reaching out to begin a way of connecting and healing. Tom and Nancy Larson

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