Car O’Beans

The Bean 11 RH 22

The Bean 11 RH 22 – this is not the Car O’ Beans, but rather the Bean Car. They are not the same thing, although they could be confused.

An invitation to a family cookout on a Saturday in the Summer – what to bring? what to bring? It should be something that

  1. Can be made ahead
  2. Travels well
  3. Tastes really good
  4. Family approved
  5. and Plays nice with other  cook-out food.

My favorite go-to take-away dish of the time:

Boston Baked Beans

recipe by none other than Julia Child, and made in a slow cooker, no less.


Mixed everything up the night before. Remember to plug in the plug. Everything bubbling on schedule. Remember to put the beans in the car – the brand new, the first and only owner being me, me , ME, new car. Complete with new car smell.Tried out several places for the beans – in the end they fit snug and well in shotgun seat. I put the safety belt across. Time to go!

I drove the many miles, crossed town line after town line to get there. Turned into the drive, which has quite a slope. Went up the hill and then had a little physics lesson:

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

action-reactionTurning off the slope into the flat parking place = slop of beans into the car.

NEW car smell….shades of the Great Molasses Flood of 1919


The smell of it, not the mess of it. A small shadow of the mess of it.

I thought of Saturday nights and Boston baked beans, whenever it was warm or I turned on the heat while I owned that car. I owned that car until it was an old car.



2 quarts of beans serve 6-8 or (double)

4 quarts of beans to serve 12-20.

6-8 (1#) oz salt pork

This is what the salt pork should look like after it's blanched. Salt pork is salted but not smoked,and the same part of the pig as bacon.

This is what the salt pork should look like after it’s blanched. Salt pork is salted but not smoked,and the same part of the pig as bacon.

2 (4) cups small white beans

Navy beans, soldier beans, pea beans - small white beans

Navy beans, soldier beans, pea beans – small white beans

4 (8) cups water *you’ll need to check and possibly add a little more later

1 ½ tsp (1TBL) salt

1 (2) cup finely diced onion

2 (4) finely minced garlic cloves

¼ (½) cup dark unsulfured molasses


2 (4) TBLS Dijon or spicy brown mustard (secret ingredient)

½ tsp (1) ginger

Fresh ground black pepper

  1. Blanch the salt pork: put the salt pork into strips against the rind, simmer for 10 minutes water; drain and add to the slow cooker. (see illustration above)
  2. Add all the other ingredients, mix together.
  3. Turn slow cooker to high.
  4. When bubbly through, turn to low for 12-14 hours.
  5. Check every now again – * if the beans are soaking up the water, add more. If they seem soupy enough, leave them be.
  6. When they’ve turned a dark reddish brown, they’re done. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. The smaller amount doesn’t really take less time to cook. If you cook beans on high It will take less time, but you won’t have that luscious partial bean breakdown that makes the BBbeans so thick and good.
  8. Made be made a day or more ahead and reheated.

Adapted from Julia Child’s The Way to Cook. Alfred A Knopf, Inc. 1989. p. 335.



Years later – 2011, in fact – I saw this slow cooker on a supermarket shelf the week before Christmas. It was marked down and I bought it. Just like that. It wasn’t even on my wish list, much less my shopping list. LOOK at those clips to lock the lid! NO MORE SLOP ON THE SLOPE.


Filed under 1990's, Recipe, Summer

3 responses to “Car O’Beans

  1. I just realised very johnny-come-lately that unsulfured molasses must be “treacle.”

    • Sorry – I should offer an English translation…It’s why I like to include pictures, but yes, treacle and molasses are not the same thing, it just hasn’t always be true, although they’ve always been close enough to use interchangeably.

  2. Love the photo of the Great Molasses Flood. I give a lecture on the history of rum and its impact on the U.S., and I describe that flood — because it reveals the flaws in the old phrase, “As slow as molasses in January” — because it was January, and the molasses roared through Boston at 35 miles per hour — 2.3 million gallons, in a wave 20 feet high.

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