This weekend, with the 70 person family reunion in full swing, we had all the standards of picnic cooking in place. There were crockpots full of vegetables, coolers full of beer and iced tea, hot dogs,  a giant Nesco full of barbecued pork, and the staples of macaroni salad, coleslaw, and baked beans.

In addition to the standard baked bean recipe, Ben and Susan, the lone representatives from the Rhodes side of the family, brought Anita Rhodes’ baked bean recipe, and made it for the crowd. As far as picnic food went, it was a hit. As to why it was, my guess is a bit of nostalgia for ribsticking recipes of yore mixed with the fact that when you read a recipe from a grandparent, it’s going to be good. No low-fat, no fat, low-sodium or none of that. Here’s Anita Rhodes’ recipe for Baked Beans. Tell me you can’t spot the difference between this and the recipes of today.

Anita’s Baked Beans

1 lb. lean hamburger meat

1/2 lb. bacon, browned, drained, and crumbled

1 medium onion, chopped

1 lb. frozen ford hook lima beans, cooked and drained

2 16 oz. cans pork and beans (don’t drain)

1-1/2 C. brown sugar

2 T vinegar

1 T dry mustard

Salt and pepper to taste


Mix all of the above ingredients in a large, round casserole and bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, until hot and bubbly (approx. 45 minutes).

Recipe developed by Anita Margaret Reilly Rhodes (1912-2005), wife of Emery McKenzie Rhodes (1886-1957)