Many people of my generation are VERY familiar with beans! They would be a whole dinner at least 2~3 times a month. I loved them then, even more now. Grandmother had to balance thrift with Grandfathers explosive appreciation...
1Pick over and soak beans overnight or use soak and boil method on the package. Discard that water.
2Bring six cups of stock to a boil. I use Chicken Bouillon Granules to make this. Put beans, stock, onions, ham hock and bay leaf in a crock pot for 5~6hrs on low.(You can certainly do this stove-top in a dutch oven or large pot)
3When beans are done to the consistency you like, remove the ham hock and shred or chop the meat, returning it to the beans, Remove the bay leaf.
4As a finish and optional, add 1~2 Tbs of Cider Vinegar to brighten the taste and season with S & P...IF they're too soupy, throw a cup or so in your blender, whirl and return. You should be able to stand a spoon in them.