When I was a kid, every Saturday was bean night. My mom baked beans and made brown bread in a can (do any of you remember that?). Sometimes she shook things up and made chili instead, but come hell or high water, we had beans in one form or another on Saturday night.
I remember my dad watching "Hogan's Heroes" while waiting for the beans to cook. It was (and probably still is) one of his favorite shows. Every time I eat beans, I think of those days.
Yet, in all the years I've been married (which is nearly 19), I have never baked beans from scratch. My mom always did (I remember her setting them out to soak on Friday, and then putting them in the bean pot on Saturday morning, and they'd cook all day). But I always let the good people at Bush's do all the work for me ;-) [Hey, if it's good enough for a talking Golden Retriever...]
Then I came across Ina Garten's Maple Bacon Baked Beans recipe the other day in one of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks. I figured anything that had maple syrup and bacon in it had to be a good dish. So I went to the store, bought the beans, soaked them, and made the beans as directed.
They were so yummy. I'm not a big fan of beans in general (you grow up having them every Saturday and you either grow to love them or get tired of them) but these ones...from the minute they started simmering in the oven, and I could smell all the flavors coming together, I couldn't wait to eat these. They definitely lived up to their reputation. I thought they were great. And had two helpings to prove it ;-)
I served them with cornbread and nothing else. Hey, they had the major food groups already covered there! I'm not posting the ingredients, etc., since I used the exact recipe. Very good!