The Jolly Librarian is called upon to cook once a year at the library’s annual Bean Bash. So each January, I go to my cupboard, look forlornly at what I may have on hand to use, and take out the few prospects. I then pull down the slow cooker from its high perch for its annual workout. Finally, I sit at my computer and google whatever I have on hand added to the words ‘easy bean recipes’ to come up with my contributions to the gala.
I am not much of a cook, so it is no real surprise to me when, at the end of the two-hour affair, my bowls are still more than half full. It doesn’t hurt my feelings. When given the option, I also choose not to eat my own cooking.
But my own inability aside, the library has several good cooks, all of whom make lots of tasty, savory bean dishes as well as slaw and cornbread for the event. And it is an event enjoyed by the campus.
Besides the very Southern delight in a pot of beans and a slab of cornbread, the Bean Bash serves another purpose as well. It is the only time of the year when everyone who works at NSCC can come together and relax, eat, and have fun. Over the years, our college has grown tremendously, probably doubling in number the full-time faculty and staff from when I was first hired. We now not only have the campus on White Bridge Road, but also down the road at the Southeast Center in Nashville, as well as in Dickson, Waverly, and Cookeville with more sites in the planning stages. There are very few opportunities for people from different areas and campuses to come together, and those few times are often taken up by meetings. So the Bean Bash is not only a chance to socialize with those we don’t see everyday, but it also harkens back to a time when everyone knew everyone else at the College.
In the stress-filled times before the event, we sometimes wonder if it’s all worth it. And right now, after it’s over, we’re all sitting a little dazed at our desks. But when everyone is in the same room, chatting and laughing, and we know we played a part in a campus tradition, we have no doubt that the Bean Bash must continue.