Today, America is the land of the free and the home of fast food restaurants. Our society runs on cheap, readily available food for people who might have the financial resources but not the time to prepare it. It is now a simple trade-off of money versus time, but such was not always the case in this country. I remember hearing that my grandmother's household could and did subsist through most of the year without having the two cents in coin necessary for mailing a letter. Farm families, in particular, were forced to live off the land for most of the year, then buy necessities in the Fall when they sold crops and could supply the necessary currency. "Going out to eat" meant supper while sitting on the porch where it was cool, and supper meant canned vegetables.

Eva Blount Way, the originator of the museum, had a vast array of canned goods in her larder that supplied her with goods from the garden long after the remains of the garden had been plowed under for the Winter. The museum boasts a large cross-section of her handiwork. A visitor may see peas, potatoes, beans, okra, spinach, fig preserves and the like, along with a jar of boned chicken, and a jar of chicken fat (for cooking purposes, no doubt).

The unique item from the pantry would have to be the canning jar labeled "possum and potatoes." Now there's something that you'll not see in the grocery store on aisle nineteen. I can see the commercial for it on television now: "You've got possum in my potatoes! No, you've got potatoes in my possum!" (What's the number of that ad agency on Madison Avenue in New York City?)

Come and see this piece of history and others in "Granny's Attic," the Belhaven Memorial Museum.

Belhaven Treasure #17

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Diane K. Mason, HTML Editor 1998