Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Southern Studies


Southern Studies

First Advisor

Andy Harper

Second Advisor

Bill Rose

Third Advisor

Ted Ownby

Relational Format



In the 21st century, motorists driving "off the beaten path" and not on the interstate now have the treat of gaining insight into a local area's foodways when they stop to eat. From tamales to the local fried experiment, gas stations have evolved to provide one stop shopping for the day tripper or sustenance and social interaction within a locale. The state of Mississippi has somewhat escaped the national burger or sandwich chain connected to the service station and instead has a "mom and pop" kitchen serving up often informal and local flavors. How do these establishments make a go of it when most convenience stores and gas stations survive as franchises and as large corporations with brand recognition and homogenization? Beyond plastic wrapped food with expiration dates that go into another decade, Mississippi gas station food is unique and gives insight to local flavor and customs. This thesis explores motoring, travel culture, and Mississippi entrepreneurs. Historical background of roads and the evolution of roadside food supports contemporary oral histories and interviews of entrepreneurs from around the state.



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