03 July 18

Soup Beans

Remember when I used to blog because I wanted to remember things? I don’t know why I quit doing that.

Two years ago, Martha Bayne at Soup and Bread asked people to cook something that reminded them of their ancestors. Chicago is a city of immigrants. It’s a soup pot with a little of everything thrown into it. So she suggested we bring a dish that an immigrant (our own immigrant group) would have brought to Chicago with them.

Since I immigrated from Appalachia, I figured why not bring something that was a common dish I ate growing up. I’d get sick of it, for sure. But I wouldn’t have survived without it. So I made soup beans. I should have made cornbread, too. But my cornbread will never be as good as my mother’s (even though we both follow the same recipe).

So, I did. And it tasted like my childhood. I little melancholy, a little bland, but spiced up just enough to make it good overall. I resisted the urge to throw in the various spices I cook with now. I made it like my mom did. Beans, onion, salt, pepper, water, pork fat.

This video of Kentucky soup beans made by the Southern Foodways Alliance is pretty good. I’d suggest you give it a watch.


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