Saturday, February 7, 2009

Baked Bean Philosophy

You don't realize it until you are grown and on your own with the full responsibility of cooking for yourself, or maybe until you are in a strange place with unfamiliar cuisine, but there's something you yearn for and cannot obtain. The further we get from our home and childhood, the stronger this need becomes. We want what Mom used to make. Mom's food was more than good, more than tasty. There's a comfort, a warmth and a feeling of strong bonds and love in a mother's cooking.

I experienced this not long after my mother passed away, when my father was ill and it seemed sure the house would be sold. My childhood was being disassembled. Suddenly, I wanted my mother's baked beans. I set about finding out her recipe and buying the ingredients and although they were not as good as hers, I felt slightly more at ease. Something about my mother still existed, some part of my childhood could stay with me, in some small way all those memories could live.

I made Baked Beans several times over the course of a year, but haven't made them since. They are not a favorite of my family, and so this memory must remain all mine. Still, I know that I can revisit Saturday night Franks and Beans anytime I like, and as long as I know that, my mom and my childhood will never die within me.

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