Friday, August 27, 2010

Bean Suppah....

I have always been intriqued by and always LOVED Bean Suppahs.

"Maine Bean Suppah" ~Sharon Kitchens - (Portland Examiner)

"According to the University of Maine's Folklife Center, the practice of baked bean suppers originated with the pilgrims who prepared enough food cooked on a Saturday to last through Sunday. The tradition of these dinners has been heavily influenced by early Native American Indians whose diet consisted of beans, corn and squash. These no frills events are memorable for the abundance of food and as a time and place for members of the community to congregate. Generally, the suppers are held in a public space such as a church, grange or firehouse.

The website Bean offers a crash course on the New England tradition of potlucks featuring Boston baked beans as the main dish. The site also offers information on how to incorporate more locally produced foods into your meals by providing links to community groups, Maine food sources and recipes using Maine sourced ingredients. The goals of the Maine Bean Suppah Project include supporting local growers by including homegrown foods at events open to the public and providing interesting historical information and food facts about Maine heirloom beans and bean supper traditions.

The Maine Bean Suppah project identifies traditional Maine beans as Yellow Eye, Jacob's Cattle (Trout Beans), Marifax, Soldier, Sulphur (Yellow China) and non-traditional as pea and kidney beans. Additional components of a traditional Maine Bean Supper include maple syrup, salt pork, bacon, onions and mustard. Customary dinner ingredients include carrots, cabbage, potatoes, honey, milk, cream, butter, cheese, eggs, tomatoes, green beans, pickles, apples, blueberries, cherries, fish and seafood."

While some people in our circle have poo-pooed them, to me they are one of the greatest traditions that I can participate in. While in Maine this summer, we attended three of them. My husband Guy went to a lot of them as a child, as that's what was done in Maine on a Saturday night. I can proudly say that my son Guy now enjoys them and actually loves the food served there.

Tonight I prepared a version of a Bean Suppah - complete with imported "red hot dogs" & B&M brown bread. I shared the meal with dad and brother and they loved it too! I think I will make this a tradition of our own, but not too often, so as not to spoil the uniqueness!

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