Friday, January 27, 2012

Family Recipe Friday - Mama and The Pinto Bean Sandiwches

Mama cooked a lot of pinto beans while I was growing up. We ate them at least once a week. And sometimes twice a week. They were cheap. Wholesome. And nutritious.

We never complained! We had them most often simply with cornbread. But more often than not, she'd add a big skillet full of fried potatoes and onions for the side dish.

Sometimes Mama would add a chunk of ham, or bone, to flavor the beans. And sometimes, when money was tight, it was simply a bouillion cube! But pinto beans were always a tasty dinner in our home, that was completely welcomed.

What most folks never knew, was that when the beans were dished up and placed in a big bowl on our dining table, a goodly portion had already been removed from the pot before hand and consumed. The culprit?

My Mama.

Mama simply could never get through a pot of beans cooking without "stealing a few". You've got to understand... these weren't beans that were opened from a can and simply heated up! No sirree! These were beans that had been bought in a bag, dry. They were culled over for bad beans and stones. They were rinsed. Soaked overnight. Drained and rinsed again. And finally set on the stove on a  low setting and watched closely, from about 4 a.m. [Mama's early morning work!], until dinner time around 6 in the evening! The scent of these beans cooking all day wafted into every nook and cranny of the house! There wasn't a corner you could run to that the scent had not permeated.

Finally, about 3 in the afternoon, Mama would sneak into the kitchen, as though she didn't want anyone to know what she was about, and she would scoop out a goodly portion of the beans with a slotted spoon, plunk them onto two slices of bread, and devour them in a matter of seconds. Then she would go on about her regular business until time to set the table for dinner. Once I asked her why she sneaked into the kitchen to do this... she said she didn't want anyone to know she didn't have any self-control when it came to beans! [You'd have to know my Mama's self-control to understand that statement's oddity! Mama was the original female "Stonewall"!]

I don't have any pictures of Mama and her sneaking bean sandwiches... but I managed to find a picture of a bean sandwich on the Internet...

...[via here ]

In 1995 Mama suffered a brain aneurysm, and no longer is able to cook for herself. So, I thought I'd never get to see anyone stealing bean sandwiches again. But in 1998, I married a "good ol' boy" from south-Texas, and guess what he does when I'm cooking pinto beans???

You got it! He likes to sneak in, about mid-afternoon, open up my crock-pot and using a slotted spoon, he makes himself a bean sandwich. Funny how things seem to come full circle, isn't it?

Even more funny? I most often join him in making a pinto bean sandwich!

Have you ever eaten a pinto bean sandwich? If not, would you try one?


GrannyPam said...

Up here in Michigan, it was always baked bean sandwiches. Navy beans are grown in the Saginaw Valley, and a staple for many people. After a day of bean soup, I always bake the leftovers.

My husband's aunt always made sure there were big slices of onion for the sandwiches.

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

We ate a ton of "brown beans" when I was growing up, too. It was an easy dish for my mom to start in the crockpot in the morning before she went to work. We eat them with plain shell macaroni and cornbread. I still make them because they are such a great comfort food!