Monday, December 27, 2010

Bean Dish

Cellphone tower? on the way from town

I’m at the computer, editing a biography of Marie Dressler, when the phone rings.
Crackle, crackle. It's Scott, on his cellphone a mile away.
“Can you bring me something to eat and drink? I’m on the hill.”
I pull cold chicken and a loaf of bread from the fridge and start cutting slices for sandwiches while Everett goes out to start the van for me. The phone rings again.
“Don’t bother cooking anything. I won’t be here long. Just bring the leftover bean dish and something to drink.”
I abandon the chicken and bread, throw the Tupperware bowl of bean dish and a tablespoon into a plastic bag, along with two alcohol-free beer and a bar of dark chocolate, and head out the door. It’s cold today but I’m dressed for it —overdressed, some may think— in my usual way, with ski pants. I’m toasty.
In a few minutes I’m on the hill, which actually isn’t a hill, but used to be before the municipality razed it flat while building up the correction line road. I drive toward the green tractor I see beyond the fence, where Scott is moving bales. He jumps out of it and into the van, tears the plastic lid from the bowl like a starving man and begins scooping bean dish into his mouth with the spoon.
I wonder aloud why he couldn’t take time to come home and eat, or even wait for me to heat something up before taking it to him; is there an emergency or what? He says, “It’ll be dark soon.” In moments he’s eaten half the bean dish, grabbed a can of beer and the chocolate bar, and is kissing me thank you before leaping out the door again.
Some people are highly dedicated to their work.

Bean Dish
Fry separately and drain:
¾ lb bacon
1 and ½ lb ground beef
 ½ to 1 cup chopped onion (optional)
1 can green lima beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can brown beans
½ c ketchup
3 heaping woodenspoonsful brown sugar (or less; to taste)

Warm and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or for hours, as you please. Delicious hot or, apparently, cold.
[Thank you for this recipe, Suzie; it’s been a family favourite for years now and always goes over well at a potluck.]


  1. the sound of the bean dish...just a few questions:
    1) is the bacon crumbled up after frying?
    2) What size cans (approx.)?
    3) Are brown beans what we call baked beans (in sauce)?

    And one more...Aren't I a pain?

  2. Hi Mary,
    1.) yep
    2.) 14 oz
    3.) yep
    4.) nope! good to see you!

  3. Sounds delicious, Katie May. I've saved the recipe. Believe me, please, when I tell you that this is the kind of food I like to eat for breakfast. Yep. Scott's a lucky man.

  4. Thank you, Kate! Sounds great for these cold, cold days.

  5. I remember walking towards town with Orlynn who said.... we'll turn back when we get to the top of the hill. Hmmmm I thought I wonder where the hill is?????

  6. I usually raise an eyebrow when Scott calls that particular area "the hill," too.

  7. We used to call that dish....Bean Mess. I had all but forgotten about it. Thanks for reminding me. I think we used to put cheddar cheese on top.

  8. Hmm.. I think I know someone who's just like that! My dad doing the harvest... Haha

  9. Joan:
    The friend who passed on the recipe used to make it without the onions, and I thought it was delish. Then I added onions and it became divine. I can't imagine where we would go, with cheese, too! The top of my head might blow right off!
    I believe they come by it honestly, those two cousins. Chances are, you've got some of the trait too! (Elin I use "figures of speech" very often and I know it must be difficult to understand me sometimes, even though your English is so good. Sorry about that: I will try to smarten up. OMG listen to me! I CAN'T STOP!)


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