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August 20, 2009

A Bean Hole Supper at Maine Fare

History lovers and baked bean lovers, take note: Maine Fare is hosting an authentic Bean Hole Supper, a festive event that has been staged by communities and churches here in Maine for generations, and is still one of our most popular traditions.

This “bean hole suppah” will take place on Saturday, September 12 at Rockport’s historic Conway House, one of this area’s earliest homesteads (1770s), the perfect venue for an old-fashioned outdoor dinner party.

Pitmaster Maynard Stanley (known in these parts as a professional critter catcher, someone you want to know when squirrels start nesting in your attic) has a passion for firepit technology. Maynard will preside over the 10-hour cooking process: He will dig a deep hole, line it with stones, set a log fire and tend it until there’s a deep layer of hot embers. At the right moment, he will lower a huge black iron cauldron filled with yellow-eye beans mixed with molasses, salt pork and a touch of cinnamon and clove onto the heat, and cover the pot with a heavy sheet of steel, then more coals and a thick layer of earth. By the time the crowd gathers on Saturday, the beans will be ready!

Paired with a traditional menu of roasted pork, coleslaw, biscuits and honey, and a dessert of fresh berry pies, this meal will be both delicious and a celebration of our New England heritage.

You don’t want to be left out of this one, so reserve tickets now. You’ll be glad you did, and it helps support historic Conway House in Rockport.

Merrill Williams is the publisher of Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine.

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