*Enjoy another blog from Amy as she shares memories from our childhood dinners.
There’s nothing quite like the smell of fresh green beans cooking, especially in the summer when they are in season. Aromas can dig deep into the mind revealing long buried memories making them just as fresh as if they were yesterday. And that is what happened as the savory scent of green beans cooking with onions and bacon filled the house tonight as Well Fed Family prepared dinner on the official Day 1 of Cousins Camp. It’s a comforting, homey aroma that takes me back to the days when I was a little girl and my grandmother snapped beans on her back porch in West Virginia, and then cooked them for a family feast that night.
Grammy’s house had a back porch that wrapped around two sides and the back corner of the house with a portion enclosed for a laundry room and storage area. The enclosed area was just off the kitchen, and always smelled like fresh produce. I remember playing on her outside back porch with Lee and smelling the fresh, raw beans as our Grammy snapped and strung them. Later the wonderful smell of the beans cooking permeated the downstairs. We would come in for the family meal, then return to the yard where Lee and I ran around catching fireflies. I remember how the grass felt as I ran barefoot through her yard, running back to the porch to show everyone the firefly I had just caught. And now our children are growing up with their own special memories tied to the wonderful smell of fresh green beans simmering on the stove in summer.
We had a full day today that began with worship, followed by wave jumping in the boat and swimming off the dock. As dinner cooked, the house was filled with the aroma of simmering green beans and the noise of bustling cousins horsing around. When the meal was prepared and on the table, we sang the Doxology together before digging in.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly host
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost
Tonight’s menu included grilled pork chops and those fresh green beans from Randle Farms, homemade oven fries, and a fresh salad (the lettuce was from Malco’s, a Tennessee farm produce stand) with homemade vinaigrette (using fresh herbs from the backyard). The chops were tender and savory, full of flavor. As my 8 year old daughter hungrily ate all the crispy fat from the edge of her chop, we remembered the Mother Goose rhyme about Jack Sprat:
Jack Sprat could eat no fat
His wife could eat no lean;
And so betwixt the two of them
They licked the platter clean.
We talked about how modern illustrations of that rhyme show Jack Sprat as skinny and his wife as plump, when the reality should be the opposite because we know that it’s too much lean protein that adds weight, not fat. Eating fat doesn’t make you fat. Interestingly, the name “Jack Sprat” may have been used to describe people of smaller stature several hundred years ago; not far off base since robust health is tied to the important fat-soluble vitamins that aren’t well metabolized when you eat only lean.
Just as dinner was winding down, the weather radio alerted us to a severe thunderstorm headed our way. Everyone jumped up to check their weather apps, grab the swimsuits drying on the deck, and make sure everything on the dock was tied down tight. Then we stood on the porch and watched the sky turn from the beginnings of a beautiful sunset to dark, angry clouds pulsating with lightning. Once the wind picked up and the lightning intensified, we came inside for dessert: homemade ice cream, Nourishing Traditions-style. While we ate we planned out our activities for the week and had fun taking silly panorama pictures with our phones. The evening wound down with a game of Clue (the very one that Lee and I played when we were girls) while Lee and I worked on Well Fed Family stuff.
Fresh green beans with sliced onion, salt and pepper, and a dollop of bacon grease – set for a slow, lengthy simmer. There’s a lot tied in to a pot of beans. It’s real food for a real family that creates real memories for all generations.
For we are the aroma of Christ to God
among those who are being saved
and among those who are perishing.
2 Corinthians 2:15
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