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Wednesday, 26 December 2012

ANASTASIA : Happy Birthday!

She’ll be driving six white horses when she comes, when she comes,
She’ll be driving six white horses when she comes!

Occasions of wonder and excitement – when my older sister came home.

Always dressed in the height of fashion!
(When Anastasia discarded this suit, my mother gave it to a neighbour who proudly wore it to church for years.)

Bringing us presents!
(the dresses, the Teddy Bears, and a police car with a flashing siren)


1966 :  Anastasia gave me free Room & Board in Edmonton  and helped me find a series of summer jobs.  She took me camping with her family and we even climbed a mountain! 

About the free “Board” -- Anastasia was a “Foodie” before the term was ever coined.  She has a discerning palate and, after tasting something delicious at a restaurant would recreate it at home, without a recipe.

But I was so blown away by one of the simpler meals she served that I wrote down the recipe Anastasia had in her head:


Soak 1 lb white beans overnight in 8 cups cold water. 
Drain beans and put in large pot with 8 cups of fresh cold water.  Bring to a boil.

1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp salt  (I added this after 4 hours of cooking) 
1 tbsp dry mustard
3 tbsp molasses (or ½ cup brown sugar)
1 onion (chopped and lightly sautéed)
½ tsp allspice (or more:  I used 3/4 tsp)
¼ tsp thyme (or more:  I used 1/2 tsp)
1/8 tsp cayenne (or more:  I used 1/4 tsp plus 1/4 tsp regular chili powder)
½ can tomato soup (or ½ cup ketchup)
Put in a ham bone and rind, if you have it.

Bake covered for 8 hours at 250 degrees.  Do not reduce the liquid.  More can be added if necessary.

When the beans are soft, add ½ cup vinegar and 2 tbsp bacon fat or lard.  (I omitted the bacon fat.)   

20 minutes before serving, add meatballs or bacon, or side bacon. 

* Anastasia said that more allspice, thyme, and chili could be added so that's why I used the extra amounts, and the beans tasted good, but it was probably not necessary.

And we’ll all go out to meet her when she comes, when she comes,
And we’ll all go out to meet her when she comes,
Hi, Babe!