A humorous look at the history of bean soup and who’s to blame for it.
Beans were a staple food in the eastern American Indian’s diet. Legend has it that in 1604 the famous Indian chief and primitive culinary chef called Sicaya ecamu [ translated in the Penoc tongue as] “He whose loin cloth waves on its own” and “I have a serious problem” [in the Lakota Sioux tongue] ) gave his baked bean recipe to nearby tribes in retaliation for not leaving tips.
Factually, the Iroquois, Narragansett, Penobscot and other eastern tribes, wrapped their soaked ‘navy’ beans (many small canoe’s filled with methane) in deerskins with venison, bear fat, and maple syrup, and baked them in pits lined with hot stones.
According to a recent finding by someone somewhere, while at someplace, sometime ago, here is an unknown known fact they discovered that occurred in early American history.
When the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving in 1621, they invited the local tribes for a blow out three day long pot luck harvest dinner. Previous to this dinner, the Pilgrims had eaten only typically bland English cooking. Since no one has ever heard of such a thing as “Fine English” dining, (then or now), the Indians wisely said they’d bring the beans, turkey, cranberry’s and corn.
Not to be outdone by half naked savages (no, not the French this time) , the Pilgrims brought out their haggis, bangers and mash, bubble and squeak, toad in the hole and spotted Dick. It is believed that it was the spotted Dick that led to the Thanksgiving Massacre soon after the feast was over. The assumed belief is that the Indians misinterpreted the Spotted Dick as a severe case of STD and only meant to quarantine the Pilgrims from their tribes women but things went horribly wrong when the Pilgrims insisted the Indians ‘just try it’.
Modern excavations have unearthed long wooden tables with haggis and half eaten pork pie still hidden away underneath them. The bones of a dog were found that gave clear evidence that the poor beast had choked to death on a length of ox blood Cumberland sausage. To the great relief of the archeologist no evidence of kidney pie or fish-n-chips was unearthed. —-Anonymous
By 1830 as expected, after having invented Guinness and Irish Whiskey, the Irish living in Boston soon became major producers of rum. Molasses, the main ingredient for rum, was very plentiful and the Indians recipe for baked beans was soon altered to include molasses in place of maple syrup. At the same time Guinness, Irish whiskey and Rum replaced breast milk in the infant Irish diet. Salt pork was substituted for the bear fat and the famous Boston Baked Beans were born.
Today the Irish / English baked bean recipe still torments us by being commercially manufactured by such companies as, O’Campbell’s, McBush’s and Jones of Arc.
Now… here’s a serious recipe that will surely put a smile on your face (kind of like when a baby has gas).
Ingredients; (I normally double this recipe and freeze the rest in 16oz. containers for future use)
1 pound = 2 cups navy beans (dry)
1/2 pound bacon, chopped up ( 1-2 Pork flavoring packets can also be used to replace bacon)
1 onion, finely diced
3 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
Add a Dash of liquid smoke or 1/4 cup of Hickory smoked BBQ sauce.
Soak beans overnight in cold water. The next day, simmer the beans in the same water until somewhat tender, approximately ½ hour. Drain and reserve the liquid.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C for you Europeans).
Place the beans in a large enough crock pot or casserole dish by placing a portion of the beans in the bottom of dish, and layering them with bacon and onion.
In a saucepan, combine molasses, salt, pepper, dry mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and then immediately pour over beans. Pour in just enough of the reserved bean water on top to cover the beans. Cover the pot with a lid or if using a casserole dish, use foil.
Bake for 3 to 4 hours in the preheated oven, until beans are tender. Do not cook on the stove top as you will end up with a pot full of mush. Remove the lid about halfway through cooking, and add more liquid if necessary to prevent the beans from becoming dry. If too watery when finished, just drain off some of the liquid. Save it to make sure you don’t need it when the beans begin to cool.
These beans are delicious. Two pounds of dry beans will make 12-14 cups of finished beans. 🙂