July 31, 2013

Time for beans in Belgrade

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Readfield firefighters shovel dirt of the top of steel plates covering their bean hole beans in 2011 during Readfield Heritage Days. Readfield’s bean hole supper is Saturday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Readfield fire station.

Staff file photo by Joe Phelan

Hungry yet? The good news is, Belgrade isn’t the only place in the area to get some good bean hole beans in the next week.

Saturday, at the Monmouth Fair, the fire department is serving them from 4 to 7 p.m.

Readfield’s fire department’s bean hole supper is next Saturday from 4:30 to 6 at the Readfield fire station.

And anyone up in the Lexington Township area can find a bean hole supper every Saturday night all summer long at the Happy Horseshoe Campground.

While there are plenty of places in central Maine this time of year to get bean hole beans, Dave Viens declares Belgrade’s are “by far the best.”

“I’ve had beans from Mount Vernon and Readfield, and ours kick butt,” Viens said. Then he adds, “And that’s not just because I’m biased.”

What makes them so good? We’ll never know. He won’t give up the recipe.

A look at Google shows most bean hole beans have molasses, brown sugar, dried mustard, some juicy chunks of pork fat. Dave volunteers that in Belgrade, they use both pea beans and yellow-eye beans.

But other than that, neither Viens will say what makes them so good.

Even a recent, um, disagreement over the addition of onions hasn’t affected the overall superiority, they said.

Obviously, in this Internet, fast food, everything right now age, if people are still taking two days to cook beans the same way the Abenakis did hundreds of years ago, there must be a reason.

You bet. Forget canned beans. Or beans in a store-bought jar. They are pale, drab pretenders.

Kris Viens sums it up. “There’s no beans like them. I won’t eat beans any other way.”

Maureen Milliken is news editor of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Email her at mmilliken@mainetoday.com. Kennebec Tales appears the first and third Thursday of the month.

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