Thursday, September 08, 2011

::Pioneering with Beans & Cornmeal::

We are cooking our way through "The Little House Cookbook" in our Pioneering studies. Our first "Pioneer" recipe is a product of bits and pieces I found in the pantry & garden: dried navy beans, fresh basil, fresh chives, the last three carrots. . . I couldn't use the exact recipe Ma used, because I can't find some of those-- um-- rustic ingredients. So I looked through a Cookbook I own. It made for a perfect chilly-weather meal.

“There was nothing to do but sit huddled in coats and shawls, close to the stove.
“I’m glad I put
beans to soak last night,” said Ma. She lifted the lid of the bubbling kettle and quickly popped in a spoonful of soda. The boiling beans roared, foaming up, but did not quite run over.

“There’s a little bit of salt pork to put in them too,” Ma said.
Now and then she spooned up a few beans and blew on them. When their skins split and curled, she drained the soda-water from the kettle and filled it again with hot water. She put in the bit of fat pork.
“There’s nothing like good
hot bean soup on a cold day,” said Pa.” ~Little House on the Prairie

Ma rolled up her sleeves and washed her hands and mixed the cornbread while Mary brought the wood and Laura set the table. . . Ma made the cornmeal and water into two thin loaves, each shaped in a half circle. She laid the loaves with their straight sides together in the bake oven and she pressed her hand flat on top of each loaf. Pa always said he did not ask any other sweetening when Ma put the prints of her hands on the loaves. ~Little House on the Prairie