A Maine Tradition: Bean-Hole Beans
Maine’s Native Americans prepared beans by cooking them with maple syrup and bits of venison or other meat. Early New Englander’s adopted the bean, cooking it with molasses and salt pork in large pots. Beans baked in cast iron pots buried in the ground became a lumber camp specialty and remains popular in Maine to this day, particularly for public suppers and other special events.
Robert Campbell of Glenburn, Maine, has been baking beans in a bean hole for nearly forty years. “Even when I don’t need the beans,” he says, “When Friday night comes it’s just an urge comes over me to start that fire and start baking bean-hole beans.”
Local Legacies Project
Members of Congress and individuals across the nation were involved in the celebration of the Library of Congress Bicentennial and America’s richly diverse culture through the Local Legacies Project. The Maine tradition of bean-hole beans is one of nearly a thousand Local Legacies projects that have already been sent to the Library to become a permanent part of the collection of the American Folklife Center.