Everyone has someone in their family or circle of friends who is famous for one dish in particular. For me, just a few examples would include my brother-in-law Kermit’s “barbecued” chicken, my late aunt Rose’s oatmeal cookies, and my mom’s coffee cake. For families like mine the list is almost as long as the number of siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and neighbors that I have had throughout my life. When it comes to baked beans the crown goes to one and only one member of my family, my aunt Ilona, the only sibling of my dad. Her version of this dish mirrors its creator: understated, unwavering in character, and genuine goodness to the core. My baked beans won’t ever replicate my aunt Ilona’s, nor will anyone else’s. That’s no reason to not try a hand at making them, howerver. Memorial Day is coming up and it’s a perfect time to consider throwing a dish of these together.
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