Bean soups form the backbone of hearty New England fare. This is a simple soup but well-suited to entertaining.
Soak beans overnight in water to cover. (Or use the quick method: place in soup kettle with water to cover, bring to a boil, simmer, covered, 2 minutes; remove from heat and let sit, covered, 1 hour.) Drain or not, as you prefer. Add ham bone and enough water to cover beans by 1 inch. Simmer, covered, 2 hours. Add carrots and garlic during last 30 minutes of cooking. Remove bone, cool, cut meat from bone, chop, and return to kettle. Reheat and season with salt and pepper.