My best friend is someone that can be described as the Ultimate Hostess. She firmly believes in the Southern Hospitality that she grew up with. When you go to her house you are allowed (if you truly insist) to find yourself a drink and then are required to sit down and relax with the other guests. I’ve learned to ignore this rule and to just jump in with any last minute preparations that are needed.
So, before the Easter gathering, I called my girlfriend, determined to bully her into letting me bring something. When I asked her what she still needed, I was shocked when she immediately told me that she wanted me to bring my baked beans. Apparently they had made quite an impression on her and she was craving some more.
Shaun will tell you without hesitation that I’m not exactly the world’s best cook. In fact, he would most likely tell you that I’m somewhere down below McDonalds. But, well, even being humble I have to admit that my baked beans are drool inducing.
The original recipe came from our neighbors when I was a child. I can remember that my mom desperately wanted the recipe but Miss Pat told her that she just didn’t have one. She had always just winged it. One day, my mom asked Miss Pat to make her beans and let her write the recipe down. As Miss Pat started to toss a dash of dried mustard in the pot, my mom caught it and measured the exact amount. Brown sugar, minced garlic…Mom was ready for her. I can’t imagine how she caught the flying vinegar, but she did. (Like I said, Mom was determined!)
Several years later, I was ready to take on the baked bean duty. Mom proudly presented me with pristine recipe card that had the special recipe neatly typed on it. I really tried to follow it carefully, but it just seemed so…time consuming to measure out ¼ teaspoons of this and that. (This small quirk could possibly have something to do with my low ranking on the cooking scale) Eventually, I returned Mom’s crumpled and smudged recipe card as I had figured out how to make the special beans.
This weekend I was ready to pass the recipe down to my baby girl. She perfectly understood how much a dollop of molasses and several shakes of ginger were. She nodded gravely when I answered her question about why some people called them “baked” beans and learned first hand about how to reduce something. (I had to explain that it was usually a sauce, but we could make exceptions when pressed for time)
I’ll be the first to admit that my beans can look a little different. They are very dark and very thick. I also have to say that one bite and you’ll think you’ve made it to heaven. I’ve yet to come across anyone that doesn’t love them.
I just hope nobody ever desperately wants the recipe…