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Beans and Cornbread
Beans and Cornbread and family
When I think of beans, I immediately think of my grandmother who was an excellent cook. Turns out that my family has had a long history with beans, they go way back.
My mother tells the stories of a time when she was so young, and her family so poor, they had to do what they could do to get by during hard times. The sweetest thing about these stories, is that she never ever knew they were poor folk. They ate well and were happy and hard working people. My great grandmother talked about food that would "stick to your ribs", so you could go out and work hard and not get hungry for a long time. Part of their routine, was beans and cornbread. The beans were more of a kind of soup and beans, and were just amazingly wonderful. I know because on many a Sunday afternoon, my grandmother would still make these when I was growing up.
What had started out as a necessity to get good food inexpensively, turned out to be something everyone grew very fond of. To this day, there is still a great fondness for it in my family. It may seem odd to people that have never had beans and cornbread, or that didn't grow up in an area where it was a custom to have them often.
Now, when I talk to my mom and they are having beans and cornbread for dinner or lunch, I am disappointed I can't be having it too! The part of the family tree I am speaking of, lived in North West Arkansas, USA. Wonderful, friendly southern people that worked hard for a living and knew the value of food that would "stick to your ribs". Makes me smile even now to recall how many times we have had it, but never grown tired of it. I have to admit, that just as important as the beans are to this dish, the honey from the honey bear bottle is a must for this meal.
First, you would have the cornbread, cut it in half. Then, you scoop on big heaping servings of beans the soup that goes with it, over that cornbread. (Reminds me of the way many of us eat biscuits and gravy). Who knows why this was so good, but grandma always put a lot of "love" into her cooking, and that seemed to be reason enough for me. One of the ingredients that my grandmother used that surprised me, was bacon drippings, because her cornbread never had any kind of bacon flavor. I think she used just enough, to make it incredibly yum! My mother tells stories, of the kids fighting over who got the corner pieces, as they all loved those the best. With bacon drippings as an ingredient, its no surprise why! I am guessing that in the corners of the pan, it kind of had a tad bit more perhaps. Now, I use a stone for my baking, nothing burns in that. After having beans and cornbread, we would have more cornbread with butter and honey on it. Yum! A wonderful way to end the meal.
Our family has long loved the tradition of beans and cornbread, long before we learned that so many make it a part of a New Year's tradition. Now, its just another excuse to have it, not that I need one. There is a sweet little lady in Oklahoma, whose beans I had that were a little different from the ones we have... We were at a Sunday get together, and that was what she brought. I want to find that recipe someday, that is next on the list.