Tuesday, October 25, 2016
If You Can't Stand the Chill, Bake Beans!
October in Mississippi.....I love the golden and purple flowers that abound this time of year. Unlike Northern states, our leaves aren't turning color yet and they won't until late November or early December. It doesn't get as cold here either, and our winters are short (about 8 weeks).
We have already had a cold snap, though, and my house is uncomfortable because I'm unwilling to turn on the heat. (Really expensive with an all-electric house. My winter electric co-op bill is 4X what it is in mid-summer.)
Today it seems that folks build houses mostly due to taste and style. But historically houses have been site-specific--they were built to suit environmental needs and to keep people comfortable. That's why you'll find Snug Harbors in very old New England houses--it provided a very warm place for those who got chilled or were ill. That's why you'll find Dog Trots in Texas--the open air corridor made a great place for a summer kitchen or for just finding a cool breeze. Those old sensible styles began to fade in the post-WW2 era and by the time the 1970's rolled around they were all but done.
My small (not Tiny) Florida-style stucco house was built during the dying years of specific design: it was intended to keep cool in summer. Unfortunately it seems that the architect didn't give too much of a care about winter--when this place gets cold, it stays cold. It is made with cinderblocks, sitting flat on a cement slab, and it has, quite literally, no insulation in the walls.
It was in the mid-30's here the other night. The temperature in the house dipped into the 50's, and it hasn't gone above 70 since despite outside temperatures moving back into the 80's. I've opened windows, turned the ceiling fans to the cold weather setting, and I've even resorted to running a space heater in one room. It's still chilly in here! And I don't like it.
So last night, I decided to fight back: I started soaking beans. That's right. I have a very old-fashioned pot of Boston Baked Beans (vegetarian style, of course) in the oven. Since the stove is right at the center of the house, that should warm the place up just a little. Besides, the beans will taste wonderful!
I'm a Mississippian (lived here most of my life despite living in eight other states) but my folks were raised in Massachusetts so we always, always, always had homemade baked beans on Saturday nights. Although I don't do that same way, I can surely bake me some beans! Kinda smells like home in here today.
Life is good.
Baked beans for supper!
.....editing to add that the house is finally a balmy 72 degrees!