Sometimes the best things in life are the simplest.
The poet Billy Collins once wrote after stumbling upon one simple, average word in the dictionary: "No cookie nibbled by a French novelist/could send one more suddenly into the past".
The same is true of food and I believe that's why many of us love to recreate the recipes of our mothers, aunts, grandmothers, etc. The food connection to the past hits multiple senses simultaneously and transports us back to those times and those kitchens where a certain magic resides.
It was such a memory that inspired my "Lasagna's Cousin" recipe, and this past week when I had extra chopped hot dogs that needed to be used up, that a simple can of regular pork and beans sent me back to my mom's kitchen many years ago.
Ah, yes - Good ol' Beans and Franks.
As a latchkey kid with a mother who didn't enjoy cooking anyway, a simple recipe with minimal prep time and inexpensive ingredients was just the kind of thing she made to get the "making dinner" item scratched off the evening's activities. Beans and Franks was one of the many recipes she used to keep two kids full.
She had many others, like salmon patties, a mac & cheese with tuna bake (although she called it casserole), cube steaks, pan-fried Spam, etc. Basically anything that could be prepped and cooked in under 30 minutes.
It is these very memories though that inspire even the most talented cook to new creations. These memories coupled with some people's desire to recreate them that spark a new found love of cooking and add to the overall collective. Modern cookbooks are now filled with little stories or essays about a beloved relative's recipe as the general cooking public desire more and more to hear stories about familial love associated with food, cooking, and the kitchen.
Everyone has heard the adage "Stop and Smell the Roses", and that's exactly the same thing in this instance. Sometimes it's good for us to forget about the multiple ingredients, the extra this or that, or the need to "wow" our family and internet follows with beautiful dishes that explode our taste buds. Sometimes we should just pause, make a simple Beans and Franks dinner and reminisce.
Until Next Time...
Here's a short video on how to make cube steaks (although I think this particular vlogger has them simmer too long)