“Cooking Beans” A Poem From My 1892 Cookbook!


Grapevine by Rosalyn Queen Alonso

Last week I advised you of an 1892 cookbook that I had found in my collection.  Well, since last week it has provided me with a multitude of reading, information and even a few laughs.  I could not put this book to rest without sharing with you a poem that was in it about cooking beans:

If my dear Rural, you should ever wish; For breakfast or dinner attempting dish, Of the beans so famous in Boston Town; You must read the rules I here lay down.  When the sun has set in golden light; And around you fall the shades of night; A large deep dish you first prepare; A quart of beans select with care; 

And pick them over until you find;  Not a speck or a mote is left behind;  A lot of cold water on them pour;  Till every bean is covered o’er;  And they seem to your poetic eye,  Like pearls in a sea to lie; 

Here if you please yo  may let them stay;  Till just after breakfast the very next day;  When a par boiling process must be gone through;  I mean for the beans and not for you; 

Skim half of the beans from the boiling pan;  Into the bean pot as fast as you can;  Then turn to Biddy and calmly tell her;  To take a knife and go to the cellar; 

For you must have, like a Shylock of old; A pound of flesh ere your beans grow cold; Nothing but pork will do or you;

Then tell once more your maiden fair; In the choice of the piece to take great care; For a streak of fat and a streak of lean; Will give the right flavor to every bean; 

Put into the pot and around it pour; The rest till the view presented seems; Like an island of pork in an ocean of beans; 

Pour on boiling hot water enough to cover; The tops of the beans completely over; Shove into the oven and bake till done; And the triumph of Yankee cookery’s won. 

This was attributed to Moore’s Rural New Yorker.

I think I forgot to mention that none of the recipes have oven degrees to bake the items.  I think that at that time there were no degrees on the oven.  An introduction to the cake section says “in cake baking much of the success depends on the oven, which should be well and evenly heated before baking and not allowed to cool. Do not remove the cake until it is thoroughly baked or it will fall.  Try it by piercing it with a broom splinter.  Flour should never be used without sifting.” In remedies I find mention of “ague” which I have never heard of, but will do a little research on.

As time goes on I will share with you a few more items from the book…like a cure for rheumatism and how to destroy bedbugs and cock roaches. You know I think some of these may work better than what we pick up at the local store.

Hip Hip Hooray -Just a few more days till it will be safe to plant outdoors!

If you are doing spring house cleaning, be sure to call Tammy at the PWA and reserve a table for the Route Fifty Yard Sale.  The number is 304-624-6881.

Get ready for summer, it’s here. Keep in touch with me and until next week “Now You Have Heard It Through The Grapevine.”

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