November 29, 2018

DANDRIDGE, TN — Beans, beans and more beans.

History and cooking are all in one as the heritage of Bush’s beans is experienced at the A.J. Bush & Co. General Merchandise store founded in 1897. Step inside the store and see Bush’s Theater where you are welcomed on the big screen by Jay Bush and his partner, Duke, while the famous dog continued attempting to spill the beans and sell the family recipe from more than 100 years ago. The sit-down tour with Drew Everett, fourth-generation Bush family, as tour guide also displays an overview of the bean life of the Bush family and shares a glimpse of processing and canning beans.

Kathleen Bush always served her famous baked beans at family gatherings or special occasions, but never shared the secret of how it tasted so good. It wasn’t until the late 60s when Kathleen’s son, Condon, finally mastered his mother’s recipe to share with America but not the ingredients. Then he passed the recipe down to his son, Jay, who never told anyone (except Duke).

After leaving the theater and back into the general store, you can shop for a wide variety of gifts including Jay and Duke memorabilia, cookbooks, cookware, Bush’s products, souvenirs galore and more. You can take a walk through a giant replica can of Bush’s Baked Beans showing the bean’s journey from beginning to end.

The company was also a tomato industry in 1904 before the beans came about, but how the company changed over the years is also exhibited through photos and equipment no longer used in the actual process housed across the street in the state-of-the-art plant leaving no bean unturned. A weighing machine is available to give a person’s weight in beans.

The museum is open year-round Monday through Saturday, except for holidays, and admission is free. Information on available hours is available at 865-509-3077.

After viewing the interactive displays in the museum or shopping in the general store, take your appetite to the rear of the building for a sit-down lunch/dinner at Bush’s Family Cafe, featuring some down-to-earth home-cooked meals and dishes served at reasonable prices. Hot sandwiches, such as toasted BLT, Southern-fried bologna, Chestnut Hill hot dog and others, simple sides, fresh salads, entrees including

barbecue platter, country fried steak, chicken tenders; heart-warming favorites featuring beans and cornbread, chili and vegetable plate, as well as cold sandwiches and of course, desserts (pinto bean pecan pie, ice cream, shakes, homemade pies and banana split).

Recipes made from the Bush’s Beans products include:


1 (8.3-ounce) can country-style baked beans, pop-top

1 (10-ounce) bag chopped romaine lettuce

5 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

Add beans and chicken to lettuce. Mix and serve.


1 (16-ounce) can country style baked beans

1 (16.25-ounce) package spice cake mix

3 large eggs

1/2 cup classic applesauce

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)

Remove bacon from can of baked beans. Pour can of beans and sauce into blender and puree. Combine cake mix, use 3/4 cup of pureed beans (discard small amount of remaining puree) and three eggs in mixing bowl and mix well. Add applesauce and pumpkin; mix well till all ingredients are combined. Spoon batter into sprayed 9-by 13-inch pan at 350 degrees 30-35 minutes or till wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan. Top with whipped cream or cream cheese frosting for fun.


1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup margarine, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup pinto beans (heated and lightly mashed)

1 cup finely chopped pecans

2 eggs, well beaten

1/4 cup pinto bean juice reserved from can

Drain pinto beans saving 1/4 of liquid to be used when combining other ingredients. Combine ingredients; pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake in 350-degree oven 45 minutes or 325-degrees 45 minutes in convection oven. Center of pie will be slightly unset. Can be frozen.


1 (21.5-ounce) can honey chipotle grillin’ beans

1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless pork loin

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup golden raisins

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into cubes

Green apple (cored, peeled and diced), optional

Rub salt and black pepper over pork loin. Cut small slits alongside pork with paring knife; place in large resealable plastic bag; add orange juice. Seal bag; turn to coat. Refrigerate 30 minutes. In medium saucepan, boil water over high heat. Peel and cut potatoes into cubes and place in boiling water 2 minutes until softened. If using microwave, place potatoes in microwavable dish and microwave 2 minutes. Remove, drain water and set potatoes aside. Remove pork from marinade and place in foil-lined 9-by 13-inch roasting pan; discard marinade. In small bowl, combine grillin’ beans, raisins and green apple, if using. Spoon over pork. Add diced potatoes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake pork loin covered 20 minutes; uncover and bake additional 20 minutes or until internal temperature is at least 145 degrees. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.


1 (16-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup onion, diced

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon paprika

1/2 cup tomato paste

2 pounds lean ground turkey

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup chopped canned tomatoes with juice

8 mini whole wheat buns

1/4 cup chopped scallions

Heat olive oil in large saute pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook until starts to turn golden brown. Add chili powder and paprika; cook 30 seconds. Add tomato paste, ground turkey, salt and pepper. Cook 4-5 minutes until meat is partially cooked. Add chopped tomatoes and beans; bring to simmer. Let simmer 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

To serve: toast mini whole wheat buns, top with sloppy joe mix. Sprinkle with scallions.


1 (16-ounce) can reduced sodium vegetarian baked beans, drained

1 large (12 ounces) head romaine lettuce, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 large hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut into 6 wedges

2 (5-ounce) cans albacore tuna, drained and flaked

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

4 tablespoons salad dressing of choice (recommend Italian dressing)

Divide lettuce evenly among four dinner plates. Arrange eggs, tuna, beans and tomatoes on lettuce Top each salad with 1 tablespoon dressing and serve.


1 (28-ounce) original baked beans

1 pound lean ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green pepper, optional

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1 (8.5-ounce) package corn muffin mix

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In skillet cook ground beef, onion, and green pepper until meat is browned; drain. Combine meat mixture, baked beans and tomato paste. Spoon mixture into lightly-greased 8-inch square baking dish. Prepare muffin mix according to package directions. Spread evenly over bean mixture. Bake at 350 degrees 30 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and continue baking 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

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