Pork & Beans

April 28, 2010

So many different titles raced through my brain as I began to type the headline to this post, all of them inappropriate. Luckily for me, I have a husband who appreciates my sense of humor. Additionally, for me, he also knows a few things about pork-n-beans.

Thursday finds this American Classic on our menu. Some, dare I say most, of us, have eaten some sort of this concoction served at family reunions, at the church social or perhaps even as a staple on our own dinner tables. Typically, these offerings have come from a can and baked with some brown sugar.

Luckily for Americans, beans are native to the Western Hemisphere. . As one of the three sisters of Indian Cuisine (maze, beans and squash) beans were not only grown amidst corn, but were often served together. When colonists began living in this new country, bringing with them pigs for their new communities, a marriage of cultures gave birth to new types of cuisine. Some of which we consider to be staples in the American food history.

New England settlers,  famous for their one pot dishes, cooked on the open hearth of colonial fireplaces in cast iron pots.  The pork, mixed with a variety of beans, then sweetened with pure maple syrup created a  dish which provided the calories needed to battle the harsh New England environment.

Beans grew easily in the cool climate and could be easily dried for an easy staple for winter.  Pigs, brought by European settlers, wondered freely amongst the farms and early settlements. As omnivores, pigs needed little care and helped to keep areas clean of waste and weeds.

Out of necessity, the taste for pork and beans has grown into a classic ingrained  in the heart of Americans. Yet, some consider this a necessity in the English breakfast. And some attribute this creation to the French, as they brought the cassoulet when immigrating.

Each locale can have different methods, baked or stewed, as well as different seasonings and sweeteners. For thorough culinarian  research stop at ChickiePoo’s this Thursday to sample what Chef Lucien Gregor considers pork-n-beans.