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  • Writer's pictureKirk

Epic Dinner in the Desert at Wadi Rum, Jordan

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

As a child I remember having bean hole beans at my parent's camp at the pond. Bean hole beans is as the name implies. Beans cooked in a hole. Beans with any other ingredients such as bacon, brown sugar, maple syrup, and salt pork are placed in a container such as a Dutch oven. A hole is dug in the ground and a fire started in the hole. Rocks are placed in the hole to heat. After the fire has died and the coals and rocks are hot, the container of beans are placed in the hole and covered with dirt. The next day they're dug up and served.

This tradition has been passed on from the Penobscot Indians in Maine. Early settlers adopted this and continued the practice to today. It was an easy way before electricity to cook enough food for the family for a week. Loggers also employed this cooking method for years. Today this is normally practiced at camps on lakes.

I was shocked on a recent trip to the desert in Jordan, called Wadi Rum, this practice is also employed. I stayed in a Bedouin camp for three nights. Bedouin camps are tents set together on the sand:

picture of my tent

There are no restaurants in the desert camp, only the cafeteria area where locals cooked local (Jordan) food. Typical food would be grilled beef or chicken (no pork for religious reasons), and vegetables.

On one special night each week the hosts cooked a meal bean hole bean style. The food was buried in a hot pit and recovered the next day.

A video of the experience of the revealing of the food:

The food was excellent other than it was insufficient for the group tenting that night. Other food supplemented the meal but it was strange they did not put more in the ground. The only vegetable I received was one medium sized carrot.

After dinner we all retired into a common tent area to enjoy hookah, for those who were inclined (I was not), and conversation. It could get very cold in the desert at night so a fire was always started in the central stove.

This time could be a bit awkward as the hosts did not engage with the guests much. They didn't even encourage the mingling of guests with each other as seating was spaced (probably Covid related). But I often entered into conversation and picture sharing with others. No other Americans were there at the time of my visit.

Bottom line: great food and experience, just insufficient quantity.

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Roger Wells
Roger Wells
15 jul 2023
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Bean hole beans, my favorite. We go camping every year for the last 40 years and the camp ground makes them every Saturday night. 😊

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15 jul 2023
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I’m glad to hear it’s still a tradition. I’m not sure if they taste better that way or if I think it does because it’s special. No matter I guess. I haven’t eaten them in probably 40 years but have good memories of them.

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