Thursday, October 16, 2014

Grandma's Green Beans

When I think about my daddy's mother, Grandma Bays, and I think about the food I remember her for, I think about her homemade southern green beans probably the most. About how she had a huge pot going on the stove almost every day during green bean season. The whole house smelling of fresh, bacon-y goodness. I think about her sitting out on the back deck, surrounded by family, while she snapped off the ends of each bean, employing us grandkids to help. Gospel music coming from the stereo beside the back room's open window, her bare feet tapping along to the music, and a cigarette hanging out of her mouth while she was singing the Lord's praises or telling us hilarious stories involving our parents or her childhood in Kentucky.

Over seven years ago, breast cancer took my grandmother away from my family all too early. With October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, I think about her even more than I normally do. Instead of a couple of times a day, it's with every TV ad hoping for a cure, with every pink shirt I spot, with every little ribbon pinned to a shirt collar, with every heart-wrenching survivor's story, with every commercial reminding women to get annual mammograms. Seeing all this pink gives me hope and enrages me all at once.

Oh, Grandma, how I miss you more than I can find the words. More than words can explain the emptiness in my broken heart.

There are no words, so I'm just going to fix a big ol' pot of green beans and wrap up in the blanket you made me, while I seek out comfort in Jesus.

Sing for joy, O heavens! Rejoice, O earth! Burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on them in suffering. --Isaiah 49:13 (NLT)

Grandma's Green Beans

Adjust to serve however many mouths you need to feed

1 lb fresh green beans, ends snapped off and washed
water (sometimes I add some chicken broth to give it added flavor)
1/2 c uncooked bacon, cut into chunks (lately, I've been using pre-cooked bacon so there's not as much grease)
salt and pepper, to taste
[Note: for every 1 lb of green beans, I use 1/2 c chopped bacon]

Grab whatever size pot you need, and toss in the washed green beans and bacon chunks (if using uncooked). Add in a couple dashes of salt and pepper, then add enough water to cover the beans and bacon by about 2-3" and place on the stove over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally and adding more water if needed, until beans are tender, about 1 hour. After this hour mark, check the green beans until desired texture is reached. (If using pre-cooked bacon, add in with about 10-15 minutes left, and cook until heated through.) Add more salt and pepper, if needed. ---> I like mine with quite a bit of pepper.

Grandma's green beans are that simple. Made with love, they're the best thing you'll ever eat.

With Love and God Bless,

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