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The Indians soaked the beans to make them swell and soften their skins, and then baked them overnight with deer fat and an onion in a clay pot stuck in a hole lined with hot stones.
Since the Pilgrim women couldn't cook on Sundays for religious reasons, baked beans cooked the night before became a Sunday tradition.
As religious laws relaxed, baked beans became a Saturday night special - pork replacing the deer fat and brown sugar and seasonings added.
For years the beans were baked by bakers, who called each Saturday morning, took the family's bean pot to their oven, and returned the baked beans with some of their own brown bread for Saturday supper or Sunday breakfast.
Brown bread, served hot with beans, is still typical New England fare. See "Boston Baked Beans". For a recipe, see our Recipe Section