CANADIAN BAKED BEANS . . . remembrances of things past.


January was always  the cruelest month when one grew up in Northern Saskatchewan. The excitement of Christmas still a warm memory, but  January was a biting,  bitter, angry cold that left you weeping.  Freezing eye lashes together.  Turning feet into numbing blocks of ice.    A January  cold that groaned and complained.  A cold that split the ice on our outdoor rink  into  large cracks   catching the blades of our skates and sending us tumbling into snowbanks.  We loved it.

Night come early in the Far North.   Darkness by four o’clock.  Snow crunched with   every step.  The evening sky dazzled with a light show  of a million  stars.   Scarf wrapped, double layers of hand knit mittens and socks,  we waited.  The  Northern Lights  lite up the sky with breath taking brilliant colours. They flashed, soared, danced filling our world with a  show we never took for granted.    Mittens were discarded.  Hands clapped.  We were absolutely certain we had the ability to make  The  Northern Lights dance to our applause.   Then chilled to the bone hunger drove us home for supper.

Remembrances of things past.    The crackle and smell of a wood burning wood stove.  The small, warm kitchen filled with  the comforting aroma of baked beans.  Crusty bread lavished with butter.   A childhood recollection of home.    Marcel Proust wrote of the joys of madelines.  For me it will always be  baked beans.     Fragrant beans simmering all day  until the pork dissolved into a rich sauce and beans become  tender bursts of flavour.  This is the baked beans of my childhood.   The remembrances of things past.  This is not an exotic recipe.  The ingredients are those of more than seventy years ago.  Most important is –  what is not in this  Northern Saskatchewan recipe.    No molasses.   Ginger gives the beans a  counter balance to the sweetness of the sugar.

Quoting Proust  wrote “Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy;  they are the charming gardeners who make our souls bloom.”   May you be happy with this simple recipe.  May your January skies be filled with Northern Lights, and may you enjoy  the simple pleasure of skating on an outdoor rink in the mysterious darkness of the night.

MRSBUTTERFINGERS  has the recipe.  Bon Appetit dear friends.



14 thoughts on “CANADIAN BAKED BEANS . . . remembrances of things past.

    • Dear Janet, I’ve posted several recipes for baked beans. Through the years I tried and discarded dozens of bean recipes. This recipe – and MY BEST so far is the result of NOT having molasses in the pantry. My goodness gracious. EVERY recipe for baked beans uses molasses. I remembered my chef father saying “no molasses in baked beans. It has an unpleasant, bitter undertone.” The wonderful surprise – I discovered the baked beans of my childhood. My chef husband declared them “the best yet!” A happy, calm and healthy New Year for you and your family. Cheers Virginia

    • Dear Gayle, So many of my childhood recollections involve food. Not surprising when your father is a chef. I was 18 years old before I became aware for most families food was not a topic of discussion. For us it was a way of life. And it was a wonderful life. XXXX Virginia

    • Dear Ana, I went way back in time, and dug deep into old memories. The January’s of my childhood are very different to my life now. January on the West Coast is lush green lawns and deep purple winter pansies, and a assortment of of umbrellas at the door. I miss the snow but not the bitter cold. Ah, to be young again. Cheers, Virginia

  1. Pingback: CANADIAN BAKED BEANS . . . remembrances of things past – Timeless Wisdoms

  2. What wonderful but cold memories! You had a magical world for January. The baked beans look hearty and warm with their secret ingredients. I would not have thought of ginger in beans. May your Canadian January 2019 bring good memories…I know you will always have good food! Cheers!

    • Dear Jo Nell, There’s nothing like running out of an ingredient to rediscover the method to recreate a long ago recipe. The baked beans reminded me of how much I loved walking home in the crisp cold and finding the baked beans simmering away in the oven. Then drifting back in time and remembering the simple joys of those winter months. It was easier in the winter, with the wood stove belting out the heat, for our father to make treats like marshmallows and pulled butterscotch taffy. They were just some of the items unavailable in the shops because of wartime rationing.
      Sending you big hugs and love to you and your family. We are hopeful that 2019 will give us some peace and calm, and perhaps just a little reassurance that all is still right in this world. XXXX Virginia

  3. Your memories will soon be my reality as we head deeper into winter. I am grateful for a warm house and pets to snuggle with. I think I might just have to make my first batch of baked beans to add to the coziness!

    • You lucky girl, Olivia. Three cats! They are better than hot water bottles on a cold winter night. I see by the weather report you’ve had more than a dusting of snow. Time to break out the beanpot. Much Love, Auntie Jean.

  4. OMG!! Virginia, my mom made baked beans like these! Except she used molasses, not ginger.
    I do remember the smell, and the bread, and I loved it!
    Thank you for this memory! xoxoxo
    It’s already Jan. 13, 2018, and I have not said Happy New Year! SO, 💥💥Happy New Year, Virginia!💥💥

    • Dearest Resa, My father and your Mother would have an interesting conversation about baked beans. My Dad had a sweet tooth. He was so happy baking pies, cakes and cookies. And he was brilliant with wedding cakes. He made me a cake that looked like a fairy tale Chinese pagoda. Happy New Year. Happy new year to all. Happy new year to Resa. XXXXOOO Virginia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s