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Pot of beans is lifted from hole after cooking overnight
Pot of beans is lifted from the hole after cooking overnight (about 16 hours).

Bean-Hole Beans

The preparation of bean hole beans, a traditional foodway that Maine lumberjacks borrowed and adapted from Native American practices, was preserved by the Maine Folklife Center at the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, Maine. A cast-iron pot of beans is buried with hot coals for 16 hours in a rock-lined pit that is three feet deep. Traditionally, heirloom colonial varieties of beans are used such as Yellow Eye, Jacob's Cattle, and Soldier. A videotape of the bean hole bean demonstration was made at the September 1999 fair.

Still photographs augment the video, highlighting the laborious undertaking of digging and preparing the hole. The fire must burn for half a day before enough coals are produced to cook the beans properly. Detailed text accompanies the visual documentation, including instructions on the procedure, bean recipes, and folksy testimony from present-day practitioners of the art, one of whom says that bean hole beans always taste better than regular beans because "you don't have to keep adding water, which dilutes the taste."

Originally submitted by: Olympia Snowe, Senator Susan Collins, Senator Tom Allen, Representative (1st District) John Baldacci, Representative (2nd District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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