You can't hang a slab of ribs on the wall of an art gallery, but there is a place for food in a museum.
Though they can't offer the greasy aroma of a breast sandwich from Top Hat, the Columbus Museum is serving up some Chattahoochee Cookin'. The exhibition opened in March and continues until Sept. 20.
Inspired by our culinary heritage, it spotlights signature dishes, distinctive cafes, fizzy colas and seasonal crops. There is even an oil painting of Lieutenant, who made scrambled dogs an afternoon delight on Wynnton Road. It was done by Bo Bartlett, a nationally known artist and longtime Dinglewood customer.
"Everybody loves food and we knew it would be a crowd-pleaser," said Rebecca Bush, the museum's curator of history.
The history of food is popular in museums and college campuses. It's trendy because it connects with so many people.
The museum has even compiled a cookbook of historic recipes that is available in the gift shop. "We want to start the conversation and have you take it home to your own kitchen," she said.
With nothing to taste and nothing to spill on your tie, experiencing food is difficult, but visitors are drawn into the discussion by logos from another generation. Seeing the images of Chero and Royal Crown Cola makes you want to open up a cold belly washer.
In an era of chain restaurants and fast food drive-ins, people can't imagine a private room at Pritchett's Fish Camp where you flicked on the light when you wanted another order. They've never heard of Alex Mitchell's Candy Store on Lower Broad. They never bellied up to the bar at Linwood Lunch and ordered Mrs. Weaver's hamburger steak. Few remember steak at the Coco Supper Club, pizza at the Villa Nova or bread pudding at Spano's.
From our private kitchens came Country Captain, a curry and chicken dish that Postmaster Leighton McPherson used to serve Gen. George Patton
So many of our memories are connected to food. A certain taste or smell takes us back in time and makes us hungry.
This summer there will be a Chattahoochee Cooking show featuring art, music and food. There will be a workshop devoted to canning and preserving, along with forums on coffee from Americus and rum from Richland.
Left off the schedule is a beer-tasting featuring Billy Beer.
-- Richard Hyatt is an independent correspondent. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.