For Mother's Day, we asked local chefs to share a family recipe that they loved making with a maternal figure in their life. Peter Davis, Executive Chef at Henrietta's Table in Cambridge, shared this comforting New England classic, a specialty of his mother's.

“My mother is the one who really got me going in my career,” he told us. “Growing up in the day, she was a stay-at-home mom and cooked all the meals at home. We weren't going out to supper like everybody else. She really gave me an interest in the kitchen. She did all her own home baking, and cooked everything from scratch, with fresh food all the time.

”I grew up in Nahant, an isolated peninsula, on the North Shore of Boston. After catching mackerel every morning, I'd help my Mom make dinner out of them. She was a traditional, easy-going cook. I loved watching her use the ingredients we found outdoors indoors, creating sweet-smelling dinners and pies. This baked beans recipe was a specialty of my mother's when I was growing up. It is best served with hot dogs and brown bread.“

Nana's Recipe for Baked Beans


  • 1 pound small white beans
  • 2 ounces salt pork
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1/3 cup brown mustard
  • 1/3 cup molasses


Soak the beans overnight in cold water.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Drain and rinse the beans, cover with cold water in a pot, and bring to a boil. Cook until the skins on the beans crack.

Put all the ingredients, except the beans, in a clay bean pot and mix thoroughly. Add the beans and cover with boiling water.

Bake for 8 hours, adding water as necessary.

(Serves 6.)

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Davis says: "Regrettably, I could not locate a photo of me and my mother in the kitchen. Here's a photo of my second mother and inspiration (Julia Child!) in her kitchen in Cambridge."
Courtesy of Peter Davis