THE MAINE ART TRAIL
Beyond Portland, Maine is bursting with art museums and galleries. If you love art you can follow the Maine Art Museum Trail for 200 miles from Ogunquit to Bangor, with inland forays to Waterville and Lewiston, and at least one island excursion to Monhegan. The trail promises the opportunity to see 73,000 works of art and “infinite possibilities.”
EAT BEAN HOLE BEANS
As with many old New England tradi tions, it’s becoming more difficult to find authentic bean hole beans in Maine. How ever, with diligence and good timing, it can be done. Or, you can do it yourself.
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Like a traditional shore side lobster bake, bean hole beans are cooked in a pit lined with stone. First dig a 3 fool deep hole, line it with stones, and build a roar ing lire that burns until it turns into a hot bed of coals. Then lower a covered pot (cast iron is best) into the pit, cover with some of The coals, then cover it in dirt and leave it to cook all day or even overnight-at least eight hours.
Obviously, this means you’ll have to start working on the beans the day before, with a shovel, a pile of good hardwood, and a bunch of rocks. Some say the rocks can be left out if you’ve made enough coals. Some say The pot should rest in the coals, and the hot stones (if used) placed on the lid lo pro vide heat and keep the dirt off. As with most things, you’ll have to decide through trial and error which method works best lor you.
Recipes vary, too, as much as recipes for “Grandma’s Apple Pie.” You can use just about any kind of bean, from Maine Soldier Beans, to Yellow Eye, Great Northern, or Jacob’s Cattle, but they must be parboiled before taking them to the bean hole. A proper cast-iron bean pot is tat and has three legs, a handle, and a really tight lilting lid. Use heavy pot holders or mitts to remove the pot from The pit because the handle will be HOT’.
Recipes for bean hole beans are plen tilul online. A Google search will give you pages of results, including a recipe on the New \ork limes and video directions on YouTube.