It’s supposed to be lucky to eat beans on the first of the year, or so says the “Organization of American Bean Producers.” So, we started 2016 out right with a batch of Cowboy Beans using Brenda’s Dad’s recipe. Yum!
Like any good cook, Brenda’s dad had no written recipe for this, he just made it up as he went along. It’s sweet, tangy, and bacon-y. What’s not to like?
5 or so slices of chopped, uncooked bacon,
about a pound of hamburger,
about 1/2 chopped onion,
about 4 cans of various kinds of beans,
about 1/2 cup ketchup,
3-4 tablespoons of vinegar or more (depends on how tangy you want it),
1/2 cup or so brown sugar,
a tsp of mustard (powdered or prepared),
salt, & pepper.
You can also throw in green peppers, molasses, chili powder, liquid smoke (hickory flavor), or whatever you have laying around that you think might taste good.
Cook the bacon, onion, and hamburger and drain. Throw in everything else and play around until it tastes good to you.
Turns out I’m now a Scottish Laird – I own one square foot of land on the isle of Islay in Scotland! It came free with a bottle of Laphroaig I bought, like a decoder ring in a box of cereal. Here are pics of my holding. Someday I’ll go over there and build the tallest, skinniest house in the world. I bought the Laphroaig based on a suggestion from Steve Smeekins. The whisky is quite good. You can really taste and smell the peat. Pics – click to embiggen:
As sick as I am of this cold and snow, Julian and I had a great day today. We did a little sledding in the backyard, Julian rockin’ lime green snow pants. Then we made a new bow, arrows and a quiver, just like in the picture in his Robin Hood book, followed by several episodes of Scooby Doo and some popcorn – pretty much a perfect day.
So, the nasty little rat saw it’s shadow, meaning six more weeks of “wintery mix” are in our future. Because when are groundhogs ever wrong?
But how did a groundhog get tied up with weather predictions and why on February 2nd? Well, let me put on my USPS jacket and Cliff Clavin mask and do some hogsplainin’.
The midpoints between the four seasonal equinoxes/solstices were important celebrations back in the pre-Christian day. What we call Halloween is the midpoint between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice; what we call May Day is midway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. Likewise, our Groundhog Day is midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.
Imbolic was the pre-Christian Celtic name for the festival between winter and spring and marked lambing season. Imbolc was also traditionally a time of weather divination, and the old tradition of watching to see if serpents or badgers came from their winter dens is probably the basis of our Groundhog Day. A Scottish Gaelic proverb about the day is:
“The serpent will come from the hole On the brown Day of Bríde, Though there should be three feet of snow On the flat surface of the ground.”
So, when Imbolic was supplanted by Candelmas Day (the presentation of the child Jesus in the temple), the older beliefs remained attached to the day, even though they no longer made sense:
“If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, There’ll be two winters in the year. If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, Winter will not come again.”
Looks like 2015 will be a two-winter year. Stupid groundhog.