Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Aunt Velva's Bean Salad
Aunt Velva’s Bean Salad
Two cans dark red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
Three hard-boiled eggs, peeled & chopped coarsely
Half a sweet onion, peeled & chopped
At least three sweet pickles, chopped
Mix these ingredients gently in a large bowl
One quarter cup cider vinegar
One half cup sugar
One cup sour cream
Mix the dressing well, pour over bean mixture, stir
This is especially good if prepared the day before and left to marinate in the refrigerator overnight. If expecting a large crowd, use three cans of kidney beans. To make it fancy, reserve one of the eggs, then slice it and layer it over the top of the prepared salad.
Aunt Velva wasn’t really my aunt, she was my great-aunt Ina’s son Glen’s wife. Which makes her, I think, my first cousin once removed, by marriage. In any case, she was country folk, kind and funny, and I adored her all my life, and made sure to leave a pebble on her gravestone when I was “down home” for the reunion a couple of weeks ago. She taught my mother, a newly-wed, how to make this salad and my mother taught it to me. The salad is delectable, and a very excellent heritage.
I hope you all have great plans for Thanksgiving, and that the day proves spectacular. We’re going to spend it with friends at their house. I’m bringing the bean salad. And I’m going to roast a turkey on Friday, because I think leftover turkey is about the best part of the feast. I’m going to have it spatchcocked in the meat department of the grocery store where I bought it frozen last week. Spatchcocking is the removal or splitting of the spine of a dressed bird and then spreading it out to roast breast side up. You can find directions on how to spatchcock it on the Internet, but I wouldn’t try it for a hundred dollar bill. A turkey will roast in about a third (or less) of the time an intact bird takes. And it’s jucier. But it looks weird, and it takes up a lot of room on a platter.
Also on Friday a friend and I are going to my church to set up the Fontanini Christmas Crèche – this Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent. Actually, it’s not just the Creche – Mary, Joseph, the Babe, a few shepherds and the Three Kings – it’s Bethlehem. The baker, the rug seller, street musicians, the Temple, the carpenter, the blacksmith, a little vineyard, a green grocer, a sheepfold with shepherds staring upwards at “a multitude of the heavenly host” hanging on fishline from a circular wire frame. I’ve been collecting the pieces for many years and when we moved into an apartment there was no room to display them so I donated them to St. George’s, which loves them and asked me to set them out every year. Funny, I was never much for dolls as a child, but I love telling myself stories as I arrange the people and buildings a little differently every Advent. This year, like last year, I’m keeping a couple of figures aside and inviting the youngest Sunday School children to “help” me find places for them. I hope when I get too frail to do this, someone will take over for me.