I went a little crazy the other day. Couple times a year my brother and I go to Breckenridge to visit our mom and dad’s graves. We spook around the cemetery visiting them and all the relatives gone but not forgotten.
After this visit, two more important stops. One, lunch, up M46 toward Saginaw, in Hemlock. Before that, Siler’s grocery store in Breckenridge, where I buy beans. I used to get five pound bags of navy beans in Freeland. But I don’t go to Freeland anymore.
The pleasure of going to Silers is I know my grandmother used to shop there. This time the store looked different. They are subtracting square footage. Never a good sign. And they also, that day anyway, had subtracted beans. At least the small bags I used to find in plentiful quantities on the shelf. That shelf is gone.
Got any beans? I asked the cashier.
Sure, right over there. She pointed.
Yes, in fresh produce, a small table with a few two pound bags of pintos. I bought all of them.
Only navys we got is 25 pound bags, she said.
I only saw one.
I could imagine Tizi rolling her eyes when I came home with all those beans. She did. I took the bag into the basement, opened it, and scooped out a couple cups. Two cups from a 25 pound bag. These beans will last us a while.
My mother used to make something she called soupy beans. A kettle short on soup (water, salt, pepper), long on beans. We ladled them over toast. It was probably a dinner for pennies my dad’s family enjoyed during the Depression. I started a pot of soupy beans and tossed in a big sprig of sage. They cooked low and slow. So good.
The sage and a little garlic would make fagioli all’uccelleto. But no. No garlic. These were soupy beans with a sage accent, an homage.