BELLA VISTA -- The Bella Vista Historical Museum hosted a historic foods tasting June 4.
Volunteers manned tables with samples of different foods, and a good number of visitors made their way through to taste the delicacies. They were also given a chance to rate their favorites.
Museum volunteer Jessica Traylor said, "We want to enrich the learning experience of what Bella Vista is. Having native fruits and vegetables brings [patrons] in to learn about their local culture. The vintage recipes take us back to the early days of Bella Vista -- the 1920s -- and give us a look into the past and how they enjoyed different luxuries."
Volunteer Wendy Hughes was giving out samples of pawpaw butter, maypop jelly, wild blackberry jelly, blackberry jelly, black walnuts and English walnuts. She said the fruits, berries and nuts are native to the Ozarks and "kind of fun things you can find in your back yard."
Museum volunteer Jill Werner, who is known for giving away her jellies and jams in exchange for donations to the museum, had a large assortment of jams and jellies on hand at the event. She said she had about 30 different varieties, including all the flower jellies she makes.
"The last time I did this in February, I didn't have the flower jellies, and people wanted them," she said.
Werner selected all the recipes for the event. Several years ago, she said, she put together a presentation called "A Taste of Old Bella Vista" with historical recipes, and from that knew a lot about the historical cuisine of the area. She combined that with her jellies and jams for the event.
The pineapple cookies were from a 1947 Bentonville cookbook called Eastern Star, she said. Some of the recipes were from a 1967 cookbook called Penny's Ozark Kitchen. The Stephenson's potato soup and cider mill punch were from a cookbook from Stephenson's Apple Orchard Restaurant, which used to be just across the state line, but many people from Bella Vista dined there, she said.
Patrons were invited to collect a plate and a drink and go outside to enjoy it, then come inside for another plate and drink to try all the foods.
Outside, Deb Harberts said the sassafras tea was her favorite thing on the menu that she had tried. She was just starting on the jams. She said she also liked the lemon cracker, which had "just a hint of lemon in it."
Reagan Wilson, 6, said she liked the pineapple cookie, dandelion jelly and blackberry jelly. Her parents asked her why she liked the blackberry jelly, to which she replied, "Because it was good."
Her mother, Lindsay Wilson, said, "I really loved the white rose petal jelly. I love the essence of flowers in the jelly. The honeymoon cake was good too. I wasn't expecting to like that."
Xyta Lucas, co-president of the Bella Vista Historical Society, said, "We are pleased that so many people came out to enjoy historic foods and help support the museum with their donations for jams."