Friday, April 22, 2011

Baked Beans and Yeast Rolls: Tuesday April 19, 2011

One of my favorite things about Marjorie's cookbook is the stories that she included in and around her recipes. I assume that many of these stories are from the columns that she wrote for the Portland Press Herald newspaper many years ago. Her story about baked beans paints a vivid picture of the quintessential Maine household. The story goes like this:

"Your favorite memory comes, I feel sure, from your childhood. Remember the shine on the black cook stove? And how your mother grasped a holder, opened the oven door, took the cover off the bean pot and found it was time to add a little more boiling water? The teakettle would be pushed to the back of the stove and be softly steaming away. She would lift it down and pour just the right amount of water into the beans. The cover would be placed back on the pot and pushed back into the oven, the door closed. The wonderful aroma of Maine baked beans could mean only one thing- Saturday!"

It's so funny because I have so many memories of my own mother making homemade baked beans in the very same manner Marjorie describes. And I am one hundred percent positive that my grandmother did the exact same thing for her family as well.  It's amazing how Marjorie could write a piece back in the 1960's describing cooking baked beans, and it still rings true for me today in 2011. I just love how cooking brings people together.

Do you make baked beans for your family? Does this story that Marjorie wrote in her cookbook remind you of your mother or grandmother? Or even of yourself? Write to me and tell me your story!

Blue Elephant Cafe 
12 Pepperell Square 
Saco, Maine 04072



  1. Hello! I know this is an old archived post but I hope you get my comment. I found this site by searching for advice online as to whether I could do Mrs Standish's baked beans in a crock pot -- and it looks like I can! It seems like it took your crockpot about 12 hours to accomplish the task; when you set it on Low, does it barely simmer, or does it bubble away? I ask because my crockpot has a very enthusiastic Low setting, so I suspect it will evaporate more quickly and cook more quickly as well. But I figure it is worth asking!

    PS I saw your other post about the ways in which Mrs Standish has touched the lives of other Mainers -- I am young, so it was my great-grandmother who was friendly with her up in Gardiner, back in the day. It was only with her friendly and confident hand, in the shape of her cookbook, to guide me, that I was courageous enough to try making lemon meringue pie. And what a pie it was! Sunshiney! I'm looking forward to her Maine Baked Beans now too!

  2. Hi jimandrachel thank you for your comment! Baked Beans in the crock pot was definitely a success! I had them cooking overnight on low, my crock pot is kind of old so it was a very light simmer and it did need the whole night and then a couple of hours in the restaurant cooking to make sure that the beans were soft enough to serve. I did have to add more water to cover the beans, but only when I got up in the morning before heading to work.

    It was very popular and delicious. I would say go for it, even if your crock is "enthusiastic'. The worst that could happen is you'd have to get up in the night and add more water to keep them from burning. Let me know how it turns out!

    Also, I love your story of Marjorie! I am always finding people who knew her or had some kind of connection to her. It's amazing how food brings people together, specifically the comfort food. Happy cooking!