Tag Archives: Boston baked beans

Bean Town

Another Saturday night  in

National Baked Bean Month

here a deep breath away from Bean Town.

Random Fun Facts (and/or factoids) :

Boston became Bean Town as a branding ploy in 1907bean-town-origin-sticker An article in the April 25, 1907 Boston Globe describes the sticker:

“The sticker is in the form of an irregular seal about 1-3/4 inches in diameter, the lettering and design being in embossed white and the background a brilliant red. In the center of the seal appears a typical Boston bean pot surrounded by two clasped hands, the two signifying the fact that Boston will not only be ready to extend the ‘glad hand’ to the homecomers during the reunion week, but that there will be something more substantial in the way of entertainment than a mere greeting.”

This was not popular in every quarter of the city – beans were seen as being somewhat ‘common.’

And not Boston Common common….

“Boston Common (2014) IMG 2995” by Billy Hathorn – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Far too ordinary common.

 But wait – there’s more……

On August 11-16, 1890, the Twenty-Fourth National Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic, a Civil War veteran’s reunion, took place at Boston. The Beverly Pottery Company of Beverly, Massachusetts supplied thousands of small ornamental bean pots as souvenirs for the troops, and this helped to make the bean pot a symbol for the City of Boston.

So, it seems that Beverly, Mass and Boston can duke out who was Bean Town first…

Meanwhile in 1910

And this is good old Boston,

The home of the bean and the cod.

Where the Lowells talk only to Cabots,

And the Cabots talk only to God.

-John Collins Bossidy

Sometime in the 1930’s

beanpot candy

These little candies – Boston Baked Beans – were available.

Which aren’t beans at all, they’re peanuts (which are legumes, which make them broadly bean family….pretty clever, candy-maker!) and a spicy cinnamon candy coating. These were among my favorites to find in my Trick or Treat bag at Halloween.

In December of 1952,

Boston Arena was the site of the first Beanpot Hockey Tournament

beanpot hocky poster In 1959 The Pot Shop opened on Boylston Street.

No, not THAT kind of Pot Shop…. Cannabis_sativa_leaf_Dorsal_aspect_2012_01_23_0830THIS kind of Pot Shop

PotshopBoston Vincent Zarrilli1959

Vincent Zarrilli, 1959

with THESE kind of Pots.

with THESE kind of Pots. The Official  Beanpot of Boston, saith the Chamber of Commerce in 1962.

And last, but certainly not least, THESE Boston Baked Beans….

Unwrapped went to visit here

Unwrapped (Food Network) went to visit here

And one last Boston Baked Bean….

Beans on Toast

Beans and Egg on Toast

Beans and Egg on Toast

My niece has been adding baked beans to her eggs and toast. Beans, not only great for supper, but also great for breakfast!

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Filed under New England

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

Hill of Beans

July is not only National Hot Dog Month – it is also

National Baked Bean Month!

and July 23rd is

National Baked Bean Day

July 13 was Beans ‘N Franks Day, which seems to be more corporate then National as ‘holidays’ go.

beanie weenies

Canned beans? Check. Canned Hot Dogs? Check. I thought Beanee Weenees were a Saturday Night Live sketch, not a product on the grocer’s shelf.

Back to the beans…… Boston Baked Beans are not entirely uncommon for a Saturday night in these parts, cooked with hot dogs, although some people call the dogs Franks and I never knew anyone one who said ‘weenie’ without being sarcastic. But the question is:

Which bean?

and then

What’s so Boston about them?

(That is 2 questions….that’s the problem with questions – one leads into another.)

First question – It’s hard to tell what beans are used in the cans of beans, and cans of beans are perfectly acceptable, but they must be the right can. Canned beans are fine if they are

  1. on sale (cheaper then cheap is honorable here)
  2. somewhat doctored to make them to taste the way you think beans should taste.

These ‘fixin’s might include (and are not limited to):

  • Nowadays, one must add BACON, which could defeat the cheaper then cheap feed purpose.
  • Maple syrup or brown sugar are often suggested, but are getting away from the Boston thing
  • Ketchup is also a departure from Boston, but if it makes your mouth happy, then go there.
  • A little mustard mixed into the mix – be it Frenches yellow or Guldens Spicy Brown or a little mustard powder
  • A splash of apple cider vinegar. This is NO PLACE for wine vinegar, white distilled vinegar, balsamic vinegar, flavored vinegar….APPLE CIDER VINEGAR. It can be added to the pot (when no one appears to be looking) . A cruet of vinegar should be on the table whenever beans are served.
Cruet for the table.

Cruet for the table. For Apple Cider Vinegar. To each his own.

With canned beans it’s OK to have favorites…

beans bmcan

B & M – made in Maine (which used to be part of Massachusetts, so has total Boston cred)

Van Camps another canned baked bean

Van Camps another canned baked bean, baked beans being the operative words.

Bushes Beans are a sponsor of the US Dry Bean Convention, to be held in Boston (natch) July 18-21. I guess everyone wants to be home to celebrate National Baked Bean Day

Bushes Beans are a sponsor of the US Dry Bean Convention, to be held in Boston (natch) July 19-21. I guess everyone wants to be home to celebrate National Baked Bean Day.

As for the Boston part….


‘Boston Condita AD 1630″ means that Boston was founded in 1630. The motto is taken from 1 Kings viii: 57. It is translated as “God be with us as he was with our fathers.” Boston was incorporated as a city in 1822. Even though it called itself a citie on a hill, it was really a town. O, Politics!

Boston Baked Beans are

  1. Baked – there’s that whole brick oven notion….hence the bean pot motif:
    1. beanpot
  2. Flavored with molasses.
  3. include salt pork.
  4. or candy coated peanutsBBBcandyThere is also a whole origins mythology; beanhole backstory, which is frankly –  a hill of beans
Bogart. Bergman Casablanca

“Hill of Beans: Casablanca with Bogart and Bergman. Watch the movie. If you’ve already seen it, play it again.

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Filed under New England, Summer, Supper