Cooking meals on a trip? Nope!

Published 3:52 am Wednesday, October 30, 2019

A girls’ trip to the Smoky Mountains sounded like a fine idea to me. The weather had been so hot and dry, and I had been working super hard on getting the house decorated so relaxation and fun sounded fantastic!

My friend, Anne, found a nice cabin with a fireplace and a back porch, and we booked it before someone else snapped it up. We invited Anne’s mom, Martha, and her friend, Margaret, to go with us. Soon the day of our trip arrived, and we loaded Anne’s Tahoe with our luggage.

We stopped at a fruit stand in Alabama on the way, and I loaded up on veggies and fruit so that we could have a little healthy food when we tired of eating out. I guess I was feeling like the culinary queen because everywhere we stopped I kept thinking of something to cook, and adding it to our stash.

In Tennessee, we stopped at a local butcher shop, and bought freshly ground corn meal, sandwich meat, and cheese to name a few things. When I mentioned purchasing a hambone to flavor a pot of beans, the owners graciously gave us a couple. We arrived at the cabin and filled the refrigerator with all of our groceries.

“Anne, I’m going to go ahead and cook a pot of white beans and some rice.”

“Sounds good. It looks like we have enough food here for an army. What are you gonna do, cook all the time? You know we are gonna be rambling, Sista!”she replied.

I searched the kitchen for a crockpot, but didn’t find one so I settled on a rather flimsy stainless pot I found under the sink. I washed it for good measure, and put the beans and ham bones on to boil. The four of us settled down in front of the fire and turned on “The Voice” while supper cooked.

While we watched Blake and Kelly cutting up, the kitchen began to smell really yummy. Every few minutes one of us would check on supper and stir the pot. I got up during a commercial and peeked in to see those delicious beans simmering. I had finished cooking the rice, and was getting ready to put on the cornbread when I noticed something I had never seen before. The water in the pot had turned a very nasty looking reddish brown color.

“Come see this, Ya’ll. Have any of you ever had this happen before?”

Everyone came and peered in the pot exclaiming that they had never seen anything like it. We decided to cook them a while longer thinking that the strange phenomena would dissipate with time. After another hour of cooking, we gave up.

Soon we were sitting around the kitchen table munching on sandwiches and chips. After eating, I carefully double bagged my ugly beans, and put them in the garbage. We ate out the rest of the week. Who wants to cook on vacation, anyway?

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at