I’ve Bean There, Done That Already - No. 88
So today is a round-up of white beans, a Covid surprise visit, and what I’m working on
HAVE YOU EVER SHOWED UP FOR A PARTY that wasn’t until the next week? I have. And my newsletter decided to show up in your inbox over the weekend by some technological mishap. It wasn’t even dressed yet! I think it secretly wanted to get the chili recipe out there before the Super Bowl and not after.
So anywhooo, click the link below and you can read about white beans again, dressed and ready for your week, including some goodies not in that unedited weekend edition that raced out the door too soon. And, if you cooked my white beans or chili, and you feel like an Amazon book reviewer with an advance copy in hand, let us know what you think!
So today has become an old-fashioned ROUND-UP, in keeping with the theme of Blazing Saddles, which I mention in the white bean post, but for those of you outside the United States, it’s a Mel Brooks’ cowboy comedy in pretty bad taste, so don’t go stream it…
Flashbacks to February 2021
This time last year, Nashville was blanketed in the quiet of snow. I was going about a winter life, baking banana bread like everyone else, sneaking Girl Scout cookies, and snatching up Sumo oranges at Trader Joe’s. And like a lot of people my age, I was searching for a Covid vaccine, too. So I get a text from my friend Debbie who said she had just been at the bank and her bank officer mentioned there were going to be vaccinations over the weekend about an hour west of Nashville for anyone who wants one.
I sign up myself, my husband, and I text my daughter in Jacksonville who had been searching for the vaccine for her family. On a whim and a prayer, they flew to Nashville for the shot, and I got to see my granddaughter. The sun shined, the snow was gone, and we went daffodil picking.
February turned out pretty well!
I think back on what we all were feeling a year ago, the anxiety, the scrambling, the dance between trying to be mindful of others who were older and less healthy with our own desire for the shot. And now, I feel our country is still anxious even though we are more vaccinated. I’d give anything for my parents or your parents to still be here and be able to give us some advice on how to live in this uncertain time. They knew how to do it. We’re still learning.
Food has the power to comfort, and what I’m working on
I write often about comfort food. It’s a topic that appeals to me on many levels, not only because food nourishes and satiates us but because cooking can be a lot like reading and transport us to a time and place that’s not in the present. And it comforts others, and there is no better tonic for making yourself feel better than helping other people do the same. Just off the top of my head, here are some recipes I fully recommend if you or yours need comforting:
Apple pie (French Tarte Tatin, even better!).
When you see a word in pink in my newsletter, it is an embedded link. Click on it, and it will take you to the post and the recipe. Pretty amazing!
So, for the rest of winter, until spring arrives with its fanfare and asparagus and strawberries, or rhubarb for those of you in cooler climes, enjoy your cup of cocoa and a good book. I’m reading Wrapped in Rainbows, the story of Zora Neale Hurston, by Valerie Boyd, who tragically died several days ago. I had hoped to interview Valerie for my next book, which is the story of Southern baking. I will share a Zora Neal Hurston recipe in my book.
I’m also reading The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson, to better understand the Great Migration. And next up is The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson, which my husband could not put down.
What are you reading?
So I’ve let the cat out of the bag, so to speak, and told you the topic of my next book. It is about Southern baking, but with many untold stories, and I’ll share a few more details of it this week with my Thursday crew.
On Thursdays, for subscribers, I started posting Open Threads, which in the beginning are a live discussion between you and me, and then they stay in the archives as a place where you can check back when you’re looking for something interesting to cook or the answer to a cooking question. Just this morning Rebecca posted her favorite scratch brownie recipe because I had asked folks to share their recipes that are so simple they can make them with their eyes closed. I’m baking those brownies today! Eyes wide open, though!
The archives are growing! They hold my favorite banana bread recipe, which you can turn into muffins. I like to fold in fresh blueberries when I’ve got them. Open Threads and the archives are two perks of becoming a paid subscriber.
Anne Byrn: Between the Layers is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
And this Thursday?
The Best-Ever Hummus. Thanks to my daughter Kathleen, I now know the hummus rules, and will share them on Thursday. I said this recipe should come with an apology. You will never buy hummus again. And neither will your friends. They’ll expect you to make it and bring it! So my apologies!
Have a great week. I’ll try to keep my posts from making unexpected visits, and you stay warm and cozy. Put on a pot of beans!