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.]