I pride myself on coming from a long line of Mainers and so I was surprised when I heard about a long-time Maine tradition that was, let’s face it, news to me: bean-hole bean suppers.
According to the Maine Folk Life Center at the University of Maine in Orono, the bean hole bean community event as we know it now actually has a rich and interesting history.
“Maine’s Native Americans prepared beans by cooking them with maple syrup and bits of venison or other meat. Early New Englander’s adopted the bean, cooking it with molasses and salt pork in large pots. Beans baked in cast iron pots buried in the ground became a lumber camp specialty and remains popular in Maine to this day, particularly for public suppers and other special events.”
In 2016 the bean-hole bean supper is more of a community event that brings families together to observe a cool Maine tradition and, of course, to eat these marvelous beans.
Here is a video from @MarkYoung on YouTube who videoed the process of making bean-hole beans from start to finish. Turn your audio on and listen close to the hilarious kid in the background who helps to narrate the fun.
For more specific instructions including a recipe try this one from the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) where you can learn about these fun bean(isms):
““Full of beans” – In good form or condition; as full of health, spirits, or capacity as a horse after a good feed of beans.
“Give a bean” – to chastise or berate
“To be like beans” – to be in good style, a general phrase of praise
“Not worth a bean” – to hold in little esteem; to be of little value.
“Beany” – to be in good humor.
“To know beans” – to be well informed, to be sharp or shrewd.”
For more information on where to find a bean-hole bean supper near you check out your local grange hall, church, or community events calendar.