Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Childhood Memories: Ham/Bean Soup

Do you have a favorite childhood food memory? One that stands out above anything else?

I do.

Mine is bean soup, but I love any kind of bean....

I remember sitting around the dinner table with a big pot of ham and bean (great northern beans) soup and warm cornbread that my mom prepared.

The way my dad ate it: Cornbread in the bottom of his soup bowl, bean soup on top, and ketchup on top of that.

Our evening dinner was always family based. The entire family sat down for dinner, AT THE TABLE, AT THE SAME TIME. Some of the simple foods that bring back memories were based around our huge garden. Back then (ok, I'm making myself sound old), I'm talking dinosaur age, families joined in together to preserve their garden foods (Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, and Cousins). Canned tomatoes, frozen corn, frozen carrots, canned green beans, frozen peas, frozen lima beans, frozen strawberries, canned pears and peaches, and canned/frozen pickles. We even planted potatoes that were stored in bushel baskets and kept in a food pantry in the basement to use during the winter months. The whole entire family would do whatever work it took to make sure we were all fed during the winter months. I remember sitting for hours shelling peas and snipping green beans, but you know, that is what kept our communication as a family strong.

If you talked to some children today about food preserving, they wouldn't know what you are talking about. "I get my food at the grocery store, preserved" (with chemicals added and no nutrition).
Most families today eat meals in front of the TV, or they go to separate rooms to eat while playing video games. Family time around the dinner table is one of the most important tools in communicating with children (now I'm sounding like a psychologist, oops!!), and it has been long forgotten and not adhered.
I always enforced dinner time around the table, and there is nothing that my children will not talk to me about today. I have built trust, open communication, and family bonding.

Now that I got my memories, and tid-bit of psychology out of the way. We can move onto my bean soup creation.

I found this little guy at Two Brothers in Montpelier. He is just the perfect size for a pot of bean soup.

I chopped him up into bite sized pieces and added it to my beans and soup base seasoning.

I soaked 1 cup of black beans and 1 cup of great northern beans overnight in water.

I drained and rinsed them the next day and added 11 cups of water with 5 TBS ham flavored soup base, with fresh ground black pepper. I put the beans and ham on to simmer before I left for church (covered), approximately 2 hours . By the time I got home they were perfect.

One soup that I absolutely love salty is bean soup, even though I drink gallons of water after eating it.

The cornbread that I make is a lot different than normal plain old cornbread. I had a hard time getting my kids to eat cornbread until I ran across this recipe. I found this recipe in an old Taste of Home cookbook, and I am so glad I found it.

There is only 8 ingredients to this cornbread, and it is so simple to make.

My kids love this cornbread because it is not solid and grainy like a normal cornbread. It is light and fluffy and sweet, kind of like a cake.

All you have to do is this:

Cornbread Cake

2/3 c. butter, softened
1 1/4 c. sugar (can be cut back if you like)
3 eggs
1 2/3 c. milk
2 1/3 c. flour
1 c. cornmeal
4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Combine the eggs and milk in separate bowl. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with egg mixture. Pour into a greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 22 - 27 minutes (mine takes 25) or until toothpick comes out clean. Cut into squares; serve warm.

It comes out of the oven a perfect golden brown.

Warm corn bread? How many of you cut cornbread while it's still warm and douse it with butter?

I DO!!

And then how many of you do this?

Warm cornbread with butter and maple syrup. Don't tell anyone, but I had two pieces that way before dinner....SSHHHHH...

The sweet cornbread and salty bean soup go perfect together.

I also added rivels (click to see recipe) to my bean soup.

Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy


  1. Angie! How ya bean? teehee - this is one awesome post and I loved all your 'psychology'. =) Appreciate the recipes too- my hubby's nickname is BEAN...and he loves bean soup. I will have to try these soon - thanks!

  2. What a great start to the day...love your humor. This one is a salty soup, and is very good with cornbread, or any kind of bread for that matter.


I look forward to and appreciate any comments.
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