Wednesday, December 08, 2004
When my mother made bean soup, she'd begin by soaking dried pinto beans all night. The next morning, she'd start the pot of beans simmering on the stove with a leftover ham bone. The pot would cook through the day, and we kids would steal spoonfuls of half-cooked beans while Mom did chores in another part of the house. We'd sprinkle salt on our little spoonfuls and blow cool air on the beans so we could gobble them down before Mom caught us in the act. Even a little crunchy, the bean soup tasted like home.
Sunday I tried out a variation of Mom's receipt. This time, I fired up the crockpot, and I used canned pinto beans instead of dried. Mom's soup never included vegetables--just beans and ham. I threw in carrots, broccoli, beans, and a handful of diced onions. Plus I added some seasoning, (Mom's original receipt only includes salt and pepper). I actually made a meal without a receipt card or cookbook as a crutch. With terrific left-overs all week long, I've been reminiscing about helping Mom around the kitchen, setting the table for company, and coming home from church so glad to find dinner simmering on the stove.
This poem by Gwendolyn Brooks seems a nice tribute to a good pot of soup.
The Bean Eaters
They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair,
Dinner is a casual affair.
Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood,
Two who are Mostly Good.
Two who have lived their day,
But keep on putting on their clothes
And putting things away.
Remembering, with twinklings and twinges,
As they lean over the beans in their rented back room
that is full of beads and receipts and dolls and
cloths, tobacco crumbs, vases and fringes.