Monday, May 5, 2008

Doctored Beans

One of the pleasures of writing about whatever we're eating for dinner is that it often brings back memories from long ago to enjoy - or not, depending on the memory.

Because my birthday falls in February, I was not allowed to begin kindergarten even though my mother believed I was ready - or perhaps she was just eager to get that last kid out the door so she could have some peace and quiet! In any case, three of the mothers in our neighborhood felt the same way so they signed up for a Calvert School course and decided to home school their budding geniuses. They took turns preparing and presenting the lessons and some of my earliest memories are of my mother painstakingly printing out letters for me to copy.

By far, my favorite classmate was Sandy Ferguson; I can't even remember the name of the other kid in the class. Sandy was my best friend even before we started school together; we played well and never quarreled, something of a rarity with me and my friends. Very simply, I loved him.

Then, one day we were playing a very interesting game of doctor when Mrs. Ferguson discovered us. As I recall, I had Sandy stretched out on the ironing board and was about to take his temperature rectally when I looked up into Mrs. Ferguson's horrified face.

Although I was sent home immediately with a flea in my ear, Mrs. Ferguson did forgive me once she got over the shock and even gave us her recipe for baked beans, which I still make today. I don't always follow the recipe exactly; I leave out the brown sugar and go light on the maple syrup and, if I don't have apples in the house, I sometimes resort to unsweetened apple butter. The onions and oranges, however, are key ingredients, not to be messed with.

Mrs. Ferguson's Baked Beans

4 #2 jars of B & M Baked Beans (#2 jars ae 1 lb. 3oz. jars)
1 large Bermuda onion, sliced
1 large unpeeled orange, sliced (I used tangerines this time and they worked fine)
1 large unpeeled apple, sliced (or use unsweetened apple butter)
1 cup brown sugar (I omit this altogether)
20 whole cloves
1 cup (real) maple syrup

Grease the baking pot with the salt pork from the can of beans, line with a layer of onion rings, orange and apple slices, 1 jar of beans, 1/4 of the brown sugar, cloves, and syrup. Repeat until bean pot is almost full with alternating layers. Cover and bake 8-10 hours at 200 degrees.

Needless to say, I don't make this amount for just the two of us and I don't bake it for that long. Two or three hours at 300 degrees is fine. I serve this with tube steak and that wonderful Boston brown bread that comes in a can, thinly sliced and spread with cream cheese. I don't know if that's traditional, but it's how it was always done in my family.

I wonder where Sandy Ferguson is today and I wonder if Mrs. Ferguson chuckles over the memory as I do.

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Blogger Kitt said...

Ha! From rectal temp to baked beans is quite the segue.

Monday, May 05, 2008  
Blogger namastenancy said...

ROFLOL! Quite the inquiring little doctor, weren't you? I remember the Calvert courses as I took them when my dad was stationed in Turkey and other parts of the Middle East. They were too much for my mother to handle so the Navy (i.e. my Dad) hired a tutor for all the kids on base. I remember reading about Greek mythology in a tin-roofed Quonset hut in a base off of Izmir, Turkey and realizing that many of the locations for these myths were just across the water from us.
You are such a good writer. You should put these together in a book and try to get published. I know that's a very difficult thing to do - getting published - but these are superb pieces which combine food and personal memories.

Monday, May 05, 2008  
Blogger Dagny said...

That's what I get for skimming. I get to the end and read the comments and think, "Huh? Rectal temp?" LOL

I haven't had beans and franks since elementary school. Makes me want to run over to Top Dog and get a package of dogs to go...

Monday, May 05, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Kitt, they just seemed to go together...

Nancy, if you think I'm a good writer, check out Gluten Free Girl, Tea with Cookies and Orangette. I'm a piker compared to them!

Dagny, not with that knee! Get someone to _bring_ you some!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008  
Blogger namastenancy said...

Your writing is just as good as the writers in the blogs that you mention. You've got a salt-of-the-earth quality and a fundamental honesty that shines through.
Plus, if you get published, can I get a commission for cheerleading?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

If I am published, I'll put your name in the dedications. Do you want "NamasteNancy" or your real handle? :-)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008  
Blogger kudzu said...

Just caught up with this and I am roaring because I kept waiting for the franks to come into the doctor scene --- not realizing it was a beans recipe we would be getting.

But then I was too smart for kindergarten and got upped a grade, as you should have.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Kudzu, oh, heavens! I never thought of that!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008  

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