An ode to bean soup

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 13, 2002

The Easter season is over and the leftovers are almost gone.

Saturday, April 13, 2002

The Easter season is over and the leftovers are almost gone. There’s a little bit of ham left and a bone for soup. A trip to the store and the purchase of some split peas or beans is all that’s necessary to make the season complete.

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I guess this was on my mind recently when I woke up around 3 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep. I had a glass of milk and a cookie (my usual remedy), but awake I was going to be. So, I decided to make use of the time. The result of my awake time was this poem. I hope you enjoy.


Now it’s three in the morning

And I’m lying awake.

I’d rather be sleeping,

For goodness sake.

But my head’s just a’buzzin’

With ideas galore

About that bowl of bean soup

I ate the night before.

Pretty ordinary soup

And it tasted just great.

Just simple bean soup

Over bread on a plate.

Over bread you say?

Why on earth is that?

Why’d you eat bean soup

On a plate that’s flat?

That’s the way mom served it.

Tasted great that way.

Her secret recipe,

Served on a flat plate.

When I was growing up,

And Mom was in the kitchen,

Good meals for her family

She’d always be fixing.

Fried fish from the lake,

Or chicken soup,

Sometimes a pot roast,

For the gathering group.

Her recipe book

Lying on the counter,

With nary a glance,

Would she do it honor.

She’d substitute here,

And she’d substitute there,

Till you’d hardly recognize

That savory fare.

It didn’t seem to matter,

Cause the end result —

Unfailingly great.

She was a wonderful cook.

Now back to bean soup,

The subject of this ode.

I want to honor that soup,

From our warm abode.

She’d start the night before,

Washed those northern beans,

Put them in a pot,

All sorted and clean.

Soaked them overnight,

Then in the morn,

Added a big ham bone,

With some meat left on.

She’d chop an onion,

and some celery stalks.

Made sure the water covered

Put a lid on the pot.

Just simmered for hours.

That’s all they’d do.

We’d enjoy the aroma

Of that cooking bean stew.

We felt all warm

And loved inside.

That homemade soup

Was cooked with pride.

There’s another benefit

We don’t talk about.

Bean soup fills you up

And cleans you out.

When the soup was done,

We’d take a plate

Add a slice of bread,

And then just wait.

Till that great bean soup

Was ladled o’er.

About two good scoops

Would do, for sure.

When I was a young bride,

Made my first pot

Of homemade soup,

I was pretty proud.

No special amounts,

Just added to the mix,

Served it nice and hot

Like my mother did.

When my husband saw

That plate with the bread,

He looked at me funny,

And then he said,

&uot;What’r you doing here?

What’s this about?&uot;

I looked back at him, and asked,

&uot;How do you eat bean soup?&uot;

&uot;A bowl you say?

That’s for other soups,

With chicken or tomatoes

Those other soup groups.&uot;

Well, he thought I was strange,

And he did it his way.

Said it tasted great,

Without the plate.

So life went on,

And I learned that we

Love the special ways

Of our own family.

My Ode to Bean Soup

Is coming to an end.

I hope you’ve enjoyed

This story, My Friend.

It’s five a.m.

And I’m getting tired.

My eyes are drooping,

And my brain is mired

Into thoughts of sleep

And not bean soup.

I’ve run out of steam.

I’m out of the loop.

Bev Jackson is executive director of the Freeborn County Historical Museum.