Jeanette MacDonald’s Baked Beans Recipe

If you have read the book Sweethearts you know that the “beans and bacon” scene was of personal significance to Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.  And that they returned to Lake Tahoe for periodic “anniversaries” and even if they couldn’t return, they occasionally had a ceremonial meal of beans and bacon as a reminder of happy times.

Here is Jeanette’s recipe:

Jeanette MacDonald’s Baked Beans

Most effective if made in an old-fashioned pot. use any favorite brand of canned beans – use only one half can at a time. To beans add:

1 tbsp Karo molasses
1 tsp India relish
1 tbsp chili sauce
1/2 tsp chopped onion
1/2 tsp prepared mustard
dash of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 large crushed tomato (peeled)
1 tbsp maple syrup

Add the rest of can of beans. now repeat the entire process over again, using as many as three or four cans of beans, according to the amount desired. When pot is filled, spread strips of bacon across the top, and sprinkle with brown sugar. If you do not like your beans sweet, use less maple sugar and brown sugar. Also, if you like them less liquid, squeeze out some of the tomato juice before adding to the overall mixture. Place in hot oven for about 1 1/2-2 hours. Serve with hot Boston Brown Bread.

Variation: Pour a layer of cooked beans into a pot (most effective if an old-fashioned bean pot is used), slice tomatoes over them, season with salt, pepper, a sprinkle of brown sugar – drop pork chops on top of it all – bake covered for 1 1/2 hours – then back without cover for 1/4 hour until chops are brown. (Make sure the pork chops are well cooked.)

For those who are not familiar with India Relish, I looked up the ingredients online: “Pickled cucumber, onion, cabbage and spices entrained in the regular sweet pickle relish consistency offering a broader taste, less sweetness and greater vinegar flavors. It is often used to reduce the sugar content of slaws and salads. It seems a cross between chow-chow and sweet pickle relish.”