Lately I’ve been on a Stephen King mini-obsession & devouring one book after another. I have read his novels in the past & used to own a ton of hardcovers; my introduction to King began with a tattered copy of Pet Semetary that I was lucky enough to find at a flea market when I was about 13 years old…it literally terrified the crap out of me & still sends shivers up my spine to this day. It is one of my favorite books of all time. King is typically classified as a horror genre author, and yes, most of the novels I’ve read do have that scary/horror/creepy element to them, however they are well-rounded stories & not just horror. I think there is probably a big slice of readers out there who are missing out on an excellent author simply because he is classified as “horror” & those people don’t like scary stories/don’t want to be scared. That’s how I am…I don’t particularly care for out-and-out horror or sci-fi books usually but I discovered that King is so much more when I just gave some of his other novels a chance after Pet Semetary. In other words, more people should try them…they’d probably end up liking them. I personally really enjoy his writing style, language, character creations, plots, etc.
One of the things I like about his writing is how he includes minute, everyday details, such as what a character had for dinner. It makes the story more realistic & also gives me inspiration for the kitchen! I’m currently reading Salem’s Lot, one of his classics. In the chapter I was just in, he tells you that the characters are having traditional “beans and franks” for dinner, and gives you clues about the ingredients and the process (and I quote: “It was Thursday night, and the meal was traditional–beans and franks. Bill Norton grilled the franks on the outdoor grill, and Ann had had her kidney beans simmering in molasses since nine that morning.”, chapter 5), which is uber-helpful when you’re like me & go scouring the internet for some old-timey similar sounding recipe. Many of the recipes I found said to use navy beans but I wanted to do it Stephen King’s way. I also have a great interest in trying “classic” recipes from other areas, and from the way it sounds, this is a traditional New England-area dinner/meal; and King should know since that’s his home territory & also the place setting for a majority of his books.
So, after searching and searching I finally found a recipe that I’m going to try. It’s the one I felt was closest to how King described it & the website claims it’s old. I haven’t made it yet so I can’t reveal any results or opinions on the recipe process or outcome, but I figured one more blog/link to this traditional dish couldn’t hurt & possibly would make it easier for others to find…others like myself, who enjoy going off on food whims suggested by horror novels (despite my speech earlier about King being much more than a horror-genre author, Salem’s Lot is a “scary story”). I’m not sure what sides to have with this–and Mr. King provided no suggestions!–but some sort of toast and/or rolls sounds good…that way you can sop up any juices. Of course veggies are always good, or fruit, or even salad.
I found the recipe on the Pioneer Woman’s site…I enjoy her recipes, have made a few before, and I also really like how she explains everything in detail accompanied with photos. The only thing I’d tweak is the fact that she uses navy beans; I’m planning on using kidney beans, simply because that’s what King described & I’m trying to maintain “authenticity”. Personally, I think either bean would be okay & it comes down to your preference as well as what you have on hand (again, for me, kidney beans win because I’ve already got them)…either or. I would retype the recipe & make my blog look all efficient and thorough and nice…but alas, I’m lazy & let’s face it: her blog looks 20x better than mine ever could, so I’ll just link it. You can find a (undoubtedly good) recipe for Traditional New England Beans & Franks here. If you make ’em, stop back but here & lemme know how they turned out & what you thought! Like all bloggers–well-known or unknown–I love feedback and comments.
And after you try the recipe, try some Stephen King too…I highly recommend any of these:
*Pet Semetary (!!!)
*The Shining (!!!)
*Green Mile series
The (!!!) indicate my favorite-favorites; also, many of these have been made into movies or mini-series so if you’re not a big reader there is always that option, just remember that most movies don’t include every last detail from the book & may not be quite as good. Just saying. I can, however, guarantee that The Shining and Pet Semetary are excellent books AND movies. And of course the list of his works is about triple the size of my list above, so you’re bound to find something you like. Just try it.