Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Mother of a Week Continued

Another night guest blogging and I find myself reminiscing about the old days of summer. Both of these recipes were dishes that I would not touch with a ten foot pole when I was a child. When it came to food, I was more into the simple things in life. Hamburgers, chicken cheese nuggets, Banquet pot pies, you know, the things that a normal 12 year old boy loves to eat. I would sit at the dining room table on Sunday afternoon in the summer months and both the baked beans and the potato salad would normally be on the menu. When my grandparents or my sister or dad would pass the corning ware dishes my way for a helping, I would turn my nose and politely pass them on to the next person. My parents and grandparents would always shake their heads and say that I was missing out on the good things in life.

Eventually, my tastes grew up and I found that there were few things in life that I did not like. From baked beans to potato salad to calf sweetbreads, there was nothing that I wouldn't try and more than often nothing that I didn't like. The beans and the potato salad were staples for our family during the summer months on a lazy summer day. I did my best to recreate the recipes although I still don't think I did them justice.

A funny anecdote about the beans: My mother and father have been married for over 43 years and started dating when they were in their early teens. When my father first started coming around to my mom's family home, my grandma would occasionally serve the baked beans. My dad, always the polite one, would say, "No thank you," and pass the dish to the right. My grandma would always ask my dad, "If you've never had these beans before, how do you know you don't like them? Just take a spoonful Mike." My dad would and over time he grew to love these beans . These days, he is taking two helpings of these beans.

My mom has jazzed these beans up a bit over time but they continue to be a very simplistic recipe. They are as follows:

Baked Beans

2 C navy beans
Sort through navy beans then cover with cold water and let soak overnight.
Next morning rinse beans well and put into slow cooker and add:
1 medium sized onion - chopped fine
3/4 - 1 C brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
Salt - probably 1 good tsp full
Cover with water - probably 1-1/2" above bean mixture.
Turn cooker on high and let cook all day. Beans are done when you can easily mush bean with a fork.
Put cooked beans into a greased casserole dish and place a couple of slices of bacon on top. Bake the beans at 325 - 350 for a couple of hours. You can double the recipe and freeze the cooked beans to bake later.

Potato Salad

Not much of a real recipe to this one. Start with 4 potatoes and 8 eggs. Boil tater until starting to get soft but not cooked through the whole way. Boil the eggs until done. Chop both the eggs and taters into fine pieces. Chop 1 medium onion fine and add to bowl with taters and eggs. In a separate bowl add 1 cup of Miracle Whip and add milk until the consistency of the mix is easily pourable. Add to potato, egg, and onion mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.

These recipes are both continued works that change each time we make them. Depending on the feel of the day or the group of people we have over, the dishes can be different works of art every time. I must say that my mom has these dishes down better than anyone. No matter how many times I attempt to recreate these, they are never the same. I guess there is something to be said about a mothers touch. My mother has always been a special part of my life and she has always been there for me. I hope that I can be as good a cook as her someday. I love you mom!


  1. Matt,
    A wonderful tribute to your mother and I am sure you did her dishes justice! Both the potato salad and baked beans look so good and a picnic is definitely on my mind. The presentation of your dishes is top notch, the pics are right on! So happy that your Mom is doing well after her recent surgery!

  2. What a wonderful tribute the two of you have made to mothers and grandmothers. The food looks delcious. Did someone mention picnic??? I'll be ready in a drop of a hat.