by Abe Sauer
Thanksgiving on a dairy farm is just another day. There is more supper, and more people, but the cows still need to be fed and milked twice a day. Then there are all the usual chores. Calves to feed. Horses. Chances are, something broke. There is no such thing as a holiday on a dairy farm.
We never had the kind of daylong Thanksgiving events I’ve come to know in my adulthood since the farm went under. The all-day social event. The football games. And the drinking. Good grief, the drinking. You don’t tie one on during Thanksgiving knowing you have to get up and milk cows at 5:00 AM.
There isn’t a lot to miss about dairy farm Thanksgiving but the green bean dish that was a staple of my grandmother’s table was one thing. I’ve never seen it anywhere else. Then again, it will never be seen on a “Today Show” segment or be mentioned by Martha Stewart.
You will need:
12 cans of french cut string green beans (the cheaper the better)
3 boxes of Keebler Club crackers (not saltines)
6 sticks butter
1 can jellied cranberries
Drain the cans of beans and put them in a steaming colander. Steam the beans until piping hot and soft.
Melt the sticks of butter in a glass bowl (Microwave is fine).
Crush up the packs of crackers into small chunks. The chunks can be random sizes but not too small. Place all of the crackers into a large flat dish. Drizzle the melted butter over the crackers, making sure they are evenly coated. Do this within 20 minutes of starting supper.
Place the steamed green beans into a large bowl. Place all of the buttered cracker chunks on top, creating a layer of crackers over beans. Open the can of jellied cranberries and slide it out onto a small plate (making that rewarding sucking sound). Add a butter knife.
The muted mushiness of the steamed green beans is perfectly balanced by the still-crunchy buttery warmth of the crackers. The mysterious delicious zest you taste is the flavor of a family eating well despite surviving on less than $24,000 a year.
Sure, this recipe is not going to get a Michelin rating. But then this scrumptious dish is for people who associate Michelin more with radials than restaurants.
Bib Gourmand? No thanks, I already have one.
Abe Sauer will have seconds, sure.