Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Boston Baked Beans

Mainly sunny, mild, temps 12

A typical fall day here - our weather forecaster, the mountain in the distance, disappeared behind a curtain of cloud or mist. this normally means rain or snow. But the got neither. Indeed, the day cleared and was very nice.

Wayne and his wife Shirley came to do what might be the last cut of the grass before winter.

Michael and I zipped in to town to do some banking, grocery shopping, go to the post office. I'd ordered winter boots for the both of us, as well as turtle neck tops for me and a new winter coat. All mail order. Out in the country we are still a little like the people 100 years ago who would wait for the Eaton's catalogue and order all their clothing etc in one go.

Huge grocery shopping...family arriving so wanted to get a jump on the food. This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving. Made the cranberry sauce this afternoon, and decided to also make Boston Baked Beans. A winter/autumn tradition in our family. My father used to make it, and it was a wonderful, magical memory from childhood. Coming in after toboganning or skating and smelling the baked beans. He also cooked Boston Brown Bread, in tin cans, if I remember. He was a wonderful cook. Died when he was 51. My age. Strange to think. I know it's disturbing for my older brother, who is now older than Dad was. They were quite close.

Anyway, Rob and his wife Audi are arriving from Edmonton on Thursday. They're really looking forward to an old fashioned Quebec Thanksgiving. In fact, Audi has never seen an eastern autumn, with all the leaves in full colour. It is spectacularily beautiful We chatted on the phone yesterday and Rob said he's exhausted and dreaming of just sitting by the fire, reading, playing cribbage, going for long walks through the crisp air (i assured him the air would be very crisp). And I thought, maybe, he'd also like to smell home-made boston baked beans. God knows what they'll taste like - I'm betting glue - but at least they should smell like home, and love. Our other brother Doug, is a vegetarian, so I haven't put in the pork the beans would normally have.

The beans are soaking now - overnight - and tomorrow I add the molasses and brown sugar and maple syrup etc.

Lise - God bless her - has finished doing all the French words for all of the books, as well as a shorter guide just for the names of main characters like armand and reine-marie.

I have an hour of studio time booked tomorrow at the local radio station - CIDI. They're wonderful! Maurice says he'll even put it onto mp3 format, which Linda my webmanager says we need so you can click on it and hear what I record.

I just nod and try to look intelligent when they talk about that. I started my broadcast career as a technician...can you believe it? In Thunder Bay. And I was quite good. Loved recording and mixing and editing. But the technology has sailed away without me. I'm standing on some distant shore, with a club and a rock.

Read through the US editors notes on book 6 and tomorrow the UK editors notes should arrive. I'm very excited about this book...makes a great follow, I thing, to THE BRUTAL TELLING.

Had a really lovely day. No work...or very little. Sat by the fire most of the afternoon, reading the Sunday Times, looking up recipes, scanning the manuscript for book 6. Beginning to think about some of the editing challenges. I find these things are best left to perculate for a while - and an answer will present itself. Something, I'm hoping, simple and elegant - and better than what is there now.

Be well.


Elizabeth said...

I have a great recipe for vegetarian baked beans. They taste like my daughter Isabel's favourite "Bush's Vegetarian Beans" that you can buy in the States. When we moved back to Ottawa I experimented on and off for about a year to come up with a version with just the right creamy texture and rich sauce. If your own version doesn't work out, you can always make a run across the border for Bush's. Yum!
P.S.Just remember not to add salt or anything acidic like tomato paste until the beans are completely cooked. If you add them too early on, the beans won't tenderize properly. It's a chemistry thing.

lil Gluckstern said...

All I can say is Happy thanksgiving, and Yum!

Martha said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and Michael, Louise! I was so excited when Brutal Telling came out. Being with you in your blogs while you were writing, I felt like I was a part of it! This GA girl Loved it, loved it loved it. Lots of depth. It did leave me a little sad, though. Your best yet!

Marjorie said...


One of the reasons that I have pleaded for a message board for you is for things like this:

Ciaran Hinds

If your other faithful blog buddies want to know that I am talking about, they can cut and paste this:


This isn't the right place to even post this, but there wasn't anywhere else and I wanted others to read your idea of Gamache in the flesh. I have seen Ciaran many times on film (you MUST see his version of Rochester in "Jane Eyre") and I have seen him once on stage in a Broadway show where he played the Devil. He's a very very talented man.

Okay, butting back out for now.
--Marjorie from Connecticut

Pedrito said...

Good afternoon from south Florida,

I looked up the book which Gamache is reading in the bistro (Being, by Brother Ambrose) and could not find it anywhere. Is it a real book? Do I have to search used bookstores to root it out?

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Elizabeth,

Thanks - sounds yummy. And thanks for the chemistry lesson! Who knew beans could be tempermental.

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi Lil,

Yum, indeed!

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi Marjorie,

Yes - need a bulletin board...all these stop-presses!

I am hysterically keen on Ciaran Hinds playing Gamache...but we will see. Need a film deal first. Lots of interest, but not going to agree to anything I don't feel is great.

Thanks for the post!