“The Little Mountain Bean Bible Cookbook” was written by Wiley J. Smith, a Bristol resident, and published by Little Mountain Publications in Bristol, Virginia, in 1991. I bought this little treasure at a thrift store for a quarter. Its cover boasted, “Over 1000 Bean Recipes.” I didn’t do much but flip through it, thinking it looked like something my husband would like.
What a surprise
When I actually got the book home, I was surprised to see that the book was not only recipes for cooking dried beans from scratch, but a myriad of recipes for cooking all kinds of beans in all kinds of dishes. Some were time-consuming and detailed, and some were just creative things to do with a can of green beans or a can of pork and beans.
I am in love with this cookbook. As I searched online to find out more about it, I realized that cooking sites all across the country mention this book as a valuable, unique resource. You would be surprised how many cooking sites discuss this book!
An even bigger surprise
It was an even bigger surprise to realize that the author was my former neighbor! He was such a nice person, but I have been unable to ascertain where he is now. I did not know that he was an author!
Oh, the places you’ll go
It has some interesting dishes with names connected with local history. Madame Russell Baked Beans reflect the author’s birthplace in Saltville, Virginia. Frye Hollow Baked Beans, Poor Valley Porridge, and Plasterco Pinto Chowder will probably evoke memories for many locals who manage to get a copy of this cookbook.
Bet you have never had a bean loaf
There are also little quick, but unique recipes for things that you may have never thought to cook. Appalachian Bean Loaf is an humble, but unique dish, forming a meatloaf-like dish out of equal parts of beans and breadcrumbs, along with a few other ingredients. Green Bean Croquettes are something that I have never heard of, but they are easily made. These links that I am providing are to sites who have used the recipes and mentioned the book.
What about the Teen Bean Bake, which incorporates hot dogs and pork and beans with a corn meal and flour mix? These are quick dishes that I have never encountered anywhere else. MoJo Beans incorporates baked beans and corn flakes. There are a thousand of them!
The recipes are not all common or down-home, by any means. You might enjoy Minted Green Bean Chicken Casserole, or the Garbanzo-Spinach Salad, which uses canned garbanzo beans.
The best things in life are…..out of print
You can still order this book from Amazon or other sellers of older books. I noticed that several were available from sellers on Amazon for under two dollars! Oddly, like many other wonderful books, it is out of print. One site that I pulled up actually talked about the good luck of scoring one at a yard sale. I guess it was my lucky day!