Sunday, November 30, 2014


This morning I was preparing dried beans for baking, and found amongst them a good-sized stone. "Ah," I thought, "there must some connection between a stone in the beans, and art-making." All through breakfast I toyed with this idea. Finding a stone in the beans was like...finding a mistake in my spelling? Finding a clumsy line in my drawing? No, the stone in the bean wasn't just a mistake.  It was totally out of place. It could even be dangerous---if an unwary diner bit down on it with tooth-cracking gusto. So---the stone was like a flourescent color in a painting of pastels? Or like a brand-new character suddenly popping up at the end of a story---so jarring that an editor would reject the entire project out of hand?

Bother! I couldn't come up with anything I liked. Besides which, it was time to put the beans into the oven and sit down at my drawing board. So there's no moral or piece of wisdom attached to this posting. Except...

Sometimes a stone in the beans is . . . just a stone in the beans. 

As a consolation prize, here's my mother's baked bean recipe, slightly altered by me:


Soak 1 pound Maine Soldier beans overnight in plenty of water. The next morning, drain them well, discarding the soaking liquid. Cover with fresh water, bring to a boil, and simmer until the skins of the beans split when you remove a few from the pot and blow on them. Put a peeled, quartered (or chopped up, if you wish) medium-sized onion in the bottom of the bean pot. Strain out the beans from the water and add them to the pot. Pour over the top 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon ground mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Add enough hot cooking liquid to reach the top of the beans. Cover and bake for 6 hours at 300, adding boiling cooking liquid or boiling water occasionally to keep the liquid near the top of the beans. 

For Mom's version, omit the olive oil; instead lay a chunk of salt pork, fat side up, on top of the beans before you put the pot into the oven.


  1. yumm, this sounds delicious. and sometimes it really is just a stone in the beans...but i love all the different places you went with it.

  2. OH, my fave baked bean recipe! Time to haul out my pot and bake some up for myself--after I go get some maple syrup! Mmmm.

  3. A Stone in the Beans

    A stone in the beans?
    Wasn't in the genes.
    Despite denim sheens,
    wasn't in the jeans.

    It was all alone,
    as a bean-like clone,
    leaving one thing known,
    a stone's just a stone.