Laura makes multiple mentions of eating beans throughout the Little House book series, and mentions navy beans specifically as ones her father Charles is buying dried from the store. Baked beans were served as a meal on Christmas Eve while they resided at Plum Creek and was a common staple for the family.
Baked beans were considered a staple food on the American frontier, particularly in the late 19th century when the books take place. They were a simple and nutritious food that could be easily prepared and stored for long periods of time.
Baked beans were often made from dried navy beans or other types of white beans that were soaked overnight, then simmered with bacon, molasses, and other seasonings. The beans were then placed in a pot or Dutch oven and baked in an oven or over a fire. Because they were easy to transport and could be stored for long periods of time, baked beans were a popular food among pioneers, cowboys, and other settlers on the American frontier.
The Little House cookbook features Laura’s baked beans recipe.