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I fell asleep and snored through my usual post composing time tonight, so you get beans. Or, beanz. Specifically, here’s a Mail article about Heinz Beans advertisements through the ages.

It’s hard to overstate what an enormous brand Heinz is over here. I tried to scratch up a country-by-country sales comparison, but the best I could find were these bullet points:

●Heinz employs approximately 2,500 people across the UK and Ireland

●The Kitt Green factory, in Wigan, produces more than 1 billion cans per year of beans, soups and pasta meals and is Heinz’s largest food factory around the world

●The UK is the biggest bean eating nation in the World

●More than 1.5 million cans of Heinz Beanz are sold each day

●Recently recognised as one of the UK’s most loved food and drink brands following consumer research by FreshMinds

Those English people up there? Yes, they are doing what you think they’re doing: they’re making baked bean sammiches. Because, fuck knows. Baked beans are principally a breakfast food here (aiiiiii!), but they’re good for a snack any time because…no, they’re not. They’re runny orange sweet beans, Jesus what is the matter with these people?

I mean, being a Southerner, I grew up on beans. Nice, salty beans, slow cooked with a bit of pork and served with a garnish of raw onion and slice of cornbread.

Honestly, I do not know what these things are supposed to be. Get them away from me.


Comment from Brad
Time: September 3, 2013, 11:02 pm

It wouldn’t be my choice, but I can wrap my head around the idea of beans for breakfast. But how does a bean sandwich even work? Unless there are spoons involved, in which case what’s the point?

Comment from m
Time: September 3, 2013, 11:15 pm

Aren’t they a part of the full English breakfast? Heinz beans are sold here in the US. Is the actual product the same as the UK product?

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: September 3, 2013, 11:21 pm

A little tiny plant in a little tiny village

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: September 3, 2013, 11:28 pm

Home made baked beans, drowned in molasses with fresh buns mmmm!

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: September 3, 2013, 11:40 pm

Ha! ‘A breakfast food’! Pay no heed to the Stoat – I took her for a walk today and the sun must have gone to her head.

Beans are part of a ‘greasy spoon’ (ie transport cafe) all day breakfast but they are not breakfast food at home. Mostly they are eaten with fried lunches (Sos, Beans and Chips or Mash – egg 60p extra).

For tea (the meal, not the drink), you might give your kids beans on toast. Adults, too, in extremis – and jolly nice they are, too!

Of course, in a greasy spoon, they are rarely genuine Heinz beans, so taste awful.

I have never known anyone eat a baked been sammich A chip sammich, yes. A fish finger sammich. Occasionally. Heinz beans? No.

Worryingly, Heinz are far from the only beans popular here. They have quite serious rivals and the total numbers are mind-boggling!

Thing is, we’d never even heard of the bloody things till WWII, apparently.

Need I ask any of Her Ladyship’s readers to guess what I am having with my (impromptu) dinner tonight?

Oh… and I have eaten Bush’s baked beans, of various varieties. He wasn’t even much of a Presdint, so God knows what makes him thinks he can handle baked bean science. 😉

Comment from Can’t Hark My Cry
Time: September 3, 2013, 11:52 pm

Um. About baked bean sandwiches, and beans on toast? Many denizens of the US are very fond of burritos–which in many cases are a bean wrap. Not New England Baked Beans of the type that Heinz produces, granted. Still ‘n’ all, it’s beans and a bread product combined.

Comment from JeffS
Time: September 3, 2013, 11:57 pm

Foreign cuisine can be puzzling at times. Why, look at the Australians and Vegemite. Or the Chinese obsession with fossilized eggs.

Or even Rocky Mountain Oysters.

Comment from Deborah
Time: September 4, 2013, 12:11 am

How to make a bean sandwich: Take appx. 1/3 cup of cold pinto beans (aka red beans or brown beans, but not “baked beans”) and pour out on a small plate. Mash with a fork. Toast white bread until nicely dark, spread generously with mayonnaise (not that abomination known as Miracle Whip). Quickly fork the mashed beans on one piece of the toast, hit it with the salt and pepper, and top with the other piece of toast. Lean over the kitchen sink to eat, or if you are a leetle kid you can sit on the bottom step of the back porch. Be happy.

Tied with the cold bean sandwich is the potato salad sandwich, made the same way. You can pack a potato salad sandwich in your lunch, but not a cold bean sandwich.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: September 4, 2013, 12:14 am

Or guacamole…..

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: September 4, 2013, 12:17 am

Haha – Deborah beat me to the draw – mine was in response to Jeffs’ observation about ‘furrin food’.

Comment from Oceania
Time: September 4, 2013, 12:30 am

The have to be Navy beans – accept no substitutes!

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: September 4, 2013, 12:51 am

Bean sandwiches are good, actually. I prefer home made beans that aren’t so sweet, but those aren’t bad.

Comment from Randy Rager
Time: September 4, 2013, 1:03 am

I can’t stand beans. Ate way too many of them as a child.

Now black eyed peas, on the other hand…oh yeah. Those I can devour like nobody’s business.

Comment from xul
Time: September 4, 2013, 1:50 am

I’ve never had the Heinz ones. I can’t see that name without thinking Ta-RAY-sa. Ugh. Anyway, I prefer Van Camp’s brand. Didn’t care for Bush’s at. all. Their beans sucked, too. 😉

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: September 4, 2013, 1:52 am

During the revolutionary war, each Continental soldier received a daily ration of one pound of fatback, and NINE pounds of beans!

There was a fair bit of whiskey too.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: September 4, 2013, 2:21 am

For canned beans, try Goya black beans. I rarely eat them even remotely close to plain out-of-the-can, but they are a terrific base for all kinds of great dishes, especially beans and rice. It never occurred to me to put beans in a sandwich, but that’s really silly because I’ve been putting beans along with lots of other stuff and wrapping it all in a nice, big flour tortilla. So, swap fluffy flour for non-fluffy, what’s the diff?

Comment from Deborah
Time: September 4, 2013, 2:56 am

@Bob Mulroy—what kind of beans did the Continental soldiers receive as rations?

Comment from Nina
Time: September 4, 2013, 3:19 am

My daughter went to a place over there that advertised an “American Breakfast,” and beans were on the plate. She took one look at them (and the tomato) and said No. Just NO.

Comment from scottthebadger
Time: September 4, 2013, 3:27 am

Baked Bean sandwiches are in the US NAVY Cookbook.

The cookbook is an interesting read, but it’s odd to see 100 servings as the standard amount.

Comment from dissent555
Time: September 4, 2013, 4:00 am

I’ll be waiting for the campfire scene in Mel Brooks’ “Blazing Camelot”.

Comment from AliceH
Time: September 4, 2013, 4:05 am

I thought Heinz baked beans and Campbell’s tomato soup I had in England were better — more tomatoey/less metallic — than the US versions.

I like beans on toast well enough, but I prefer canned ravioli on buttered toast.

You’d have to pay me gobs of money to eat mushy peas, though.

Comment from francis
Time: September 4, 2013, 4:41 am

I live a stone’s throw from Heinz HQ, so, thanks for the business! 🙂

Comment from Man Mountain Molehill
Time: September 4, 2013, 5:45 am

I remember the full English breakfast. Cold toast. 1 rubbery fried egg. 1/2 fried tomato. Beans. Black pudding. 1 rasher of fantastic bacon. Wish I could’ve just ordered a pile of the bacon…

Comment from Mojo
Time: September 4, 2013, 7:00 am

Red beans in ketchup. Yuck.

Brit cooking is based on a dare, I think.

Comment from Gibby Haynes
Time: September 4, 2013, 7:22 am

I think this must be why we’re the most obese nation after Mexico and the US.

I’ve never seen or heard of a baked bean sandwich before, and I’ve been to some fucked up places on this sceptered isle.

Comment from GIL
Time: September 4, 2013, 7:23 am

I sound like an ambassador from the Heinz fortune, ahem, but here goes: I love beans on toast for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. British comfort food! I also remember Day One in Nutrition class–if you melt cheese on top of the beans on toast, you have a perfect balance of nutrition. Throw in a salad, and you’re ready for the Olympics. My family back in the USA came out of the Depression eating beans, and they still love them–but only doctored up. The British Heinz beans have way too much sticky-sweet liquid in them. Open the tin, press out the juice, then add ketchup, BBQ sauce, hot peppers, onions, cut up bangers, etc. until they’re just right. Have you seen the bespoke little microwave bean pans they sell at £££Land? You only have to permanently stain one of your collection of plastic containers. Beans are good. Eat them enough and the farts go away. Kind of.

Comment from Brad
Time: September 4, 2013, 7:52 am

British cuisine reached and receded from it’s peak when Schlotzsky’s briefly opened an outlet in Piccadilly Circus.

Okay, I can hear you laugh. Go ahead, howl away. You have not been subjected to a slice of gamon pie on a cold London morning or a bacon sandwich on a cold London evening.

I’ve made peace with the tomato half; and, maybe a little bit with the banger but just what is a baked bean really? Is it, possibly, the ovaries of a horrible little subterranean creature that some British Lord raises in the unused dungeons of forgotten castles? Are they the eggs of the snakes of Ireland harvested by the descendants of St.Patrick?

Baked Beans: the indefinable muck of bland. Sort of tomatoy, but not quite; kind of Worcestershirey but not really; a little bit soft but, no, really soft. It’s something that anything can improve, sawdust, for example (walnut sawdust works best). The best improvement is to use cans of baked beans as target practice. They splatter magnificently and the splatter has not been known to cause permanent ecological damage, though no modern study has been accomplished to authenticate that statement.

Is it true that the rise of baked beans led to the fall of the British empire?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 4, 2013, 9:23 am

The word “sammich” is poetic license. If I were to have said “beans on toast,” all the Brits would be like, “oh, sure, beans on toast!”

The fried tomato isn’t bad, when you get used to it. The bacon isn’t either, but it’s not bacon (not as we know it, Jim). Fried mushrooms as breakfast food, deelightful.

But the beans. I just can’t stick the beans.

Comment from Oceania
Time: September 4, 2013, 9:26 am

Americans seam to be losing control over their nuclear weapons at the moment.

Lots are missing, more are in transit.

Why is that?

Comment from Deborah
Time: September 4, 2013, 11:37 am

Pipeliner’s Picnic: hunk of rat cheese, sleeve of saltine crackers, and can of VanCamp’s Beanee Weenee (or 2 cans because one serving is not quite enough for a pipeliner). I always keep this “picnic” in the pantry, in case I am not home at dinner time—Husband won’t starve. Or if he needs to pack his own lunch pail.

Husband is no longer a pipeliner, but he loves this. My father-in-law, who was a cowboy, kept a case of Beanee Weenee and a tin of saltines behind the seat in his pickup at all times.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 4, 2013, 12:17 pm

Oh, Deborah, how posh! You know what they call beanie weenies here? Cassoulet. And they pretend it’s some upscale French shit.


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: September 4, 2013, 12:25 pm

Fiddlesticks! The only ‘cassoulet’ I’ve ever seen has been imported from France (you know, Anerica’s oldest and bestest fwend evvah).

Here we call them ‘baked beans and pork sausages’ and Heinz makes the best.

There are other brands… for the brave and strong of stomach.

As The Stoat is well aware, I have fed the cat Heinz beans and sausages (she was sitting on my lap watching TV with me late one night). She seemed to like them, too.

The cat, that is.

Comment from scottthebadger
Time: September 4, 2013, 1:12 pm

Rat cheese? You would need very small milking machines.

Cats like most things. One cold winter day, I had just pulled a Tombstone pizza out of the oven. Of course, it was VERY hot, so I put it on the cutting board, and went and let in the cats, who had been outside, frolicing. I then went in search of something to read as I ate me Tombstone. I went into the kitchen, to find a crust on the cutting board, and 4 cats with sauce all over thier faces. This was back before KRAFT bought and ruined Tombstone Pizza.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: September 4, 2013, 1:25 pm

I don’t often eat baked beans but when I do, I prefer B&M Baked beans. They come in a glass jar rather than a can, and include a half-inch cube of pork fat buried in the mix, which I insist must be in there but I always remove and throw away before cooking. Baked beans are part of a set meal at our house; Mrs. Vegetable is Japanese and had never eaten them, nor had she had a hotdog and had never dreamed that such a thing as sauerkraut existed. For her introduction to these delicacies I (using my man-chef skills!) prepared Hebrew National “we answer to a higher authority” kosher knockwurst, bavarian sauerkraut, and B&M beans. She likes them all, but only if served together. As Uncle B knows, foreigners must be introduced to one’s national cuisine very carefully or they’ll think it’s all ‘Toad In The Hole’ et al.

Weasel, you may be familiar with B&M – they’re very much a North East thing and hard to find here in Texas. As for Heinz well, they make the -only- acceptable Catsup in America. I know this because when John Kerry-Heinz was stumbling running for President I refused to buy Heinz products. I bought and threw out a lot of terrible watery catsup’s and I don’t even eat much of it.

Uncle B – here’s a taste comparison between B&M and Bush.

Comment from Some anonymous Vegetable
Time: September 4, 2013, 1:35 pm

Sigh, my new iPad mini can’t seem to remember who I am. The post above is mine.

Comment from Poindexter
Time: September 4, 2013, 2:05 pm

My wife wondered why I was wheezing with laughter out at the kitchen counter.

That said, I actually eat beans (and scrambled eggs) for breakfast most mornings. But they are home-cooked beans, using variations of my Grandpa Jack’s Mexican Beans recipe from when he had a catering business on the side while working on the LAPD in the 20s and 30s. And, yes, they come by the “Mexican Beans” label honestly, since the recipe (involving chorizo) came from one of his partners in the business, Juan Ramos. I still cook them using Grandpa’s wooden paddle, which itself must be at least 70 years old. For those interested, you can find the recipe (and a photo of Grandpa Jack, looking like a pre-WW2 James Bond) here.

Comment from Davem123
Time: September 4, 2013, 2:16 pm

“Or even Rocky Mountain Oysters.”

I’d rather we not discuss Rocky Mountain Oysters. My Uncle died eating them…

Pig dragged him under a fence.

You really need to keep a straight face for this one to work well.

Comment from surly ermine
Time: September 4, 2013, 3:15 pm

I love beans. Pintos with ham are my favorite. Then there are half-runners with bacon, a close second. Unfortunately the Mrs. is strictly Pythagorean when it comes to beans. Makes chili nite a bit complicated.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: September 4, 2013, 3:24 pm

Black beans (because #racist) with roast pork so spicy it causes your intestines to leap from your body. For breakfast!

Yeah, get that sugary abomination away from me.

Comment from scottthebadger
Time: September 4, 2013, 3:37 pm

Good Heavens! The stuff actually exists! http://deedah.org/cheese/index.html It’s on the internet, so it must be true!

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: September 4, 2013, 3:52 pm

Pythagoras forbad the eating of beans, because they have souls.

Keeping in mind that the Greeks used pneuma (πνεῦμα) for both wind & soul.

Comment from Deborah
Time: September 4, 2013, 4:39 pm

Are dried beans easy to buy in the U.K.? Doesn’t anyone cook their own beans?

@scottthebadger—I can’t wait to show Husband the rat cheese link!
@Stark Dickflüssig—The rule at my house: The pot of beans can be warmed up a second time, but not a third, because the gastric distress increases exponentially each time the beans are reheated. However, from now on I shall call it Pythagoras’s Second Rule.

Comment from Horatio Horrible
Time: September 4, 2013, 4:49 pm

Ann-Margret demonstrates another use for beans in the UK:

Comment from Sigivald
Time: September 4, 2013, 6:02 pm

Baked beans are great … but nothing like Southern beans.

(Baked beans with sliced hot dogs are awesome comfort food. Serve with some bread.

Contra posters above, proper cassoulet is made with white beans and should involve lots of pork fat, not just some sausage bits.)

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: September 4, 2013, 6:18 pm

Deborah, they were Boston beans, silly!

What’s the matter with guacamole? IMHO, it’s like fois gras, in that it transports anything you put it on to a whole new dimension.

You’ve all inspired me. I think I’ll do some red beans and ham hocks in a Dutch oven over charcoal. (And corn bread -of course.

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: September 4, 2013, 6:38 pm

My son does not understand why I built an enormous antenna in Mom’s attic when I was 14.

This is why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z62ikGqIuUY

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: September 4, 2013, 8:42 pm

That is one of the funniest skits Monty Python ever did, and its exactly what I thought of when I saw this post. More beans!!!!

That and the ghastly scene from the Tommy film with Ann-Margaret wallowing in beans. Ick.

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: September 4, 2013, 9:46 pm

Rat cheese????

I wonder what the record is for smallest animal to be milked for cheese.

Rabbit cheese?

Guinea pig cheese?

Squirrel cheese?

Mouse cheese?

Bat cheese?

Comment from David Gillies
Time: September 4, 2013, 10:05 pm

When I was a starving postgrad oop North I would go to the Netto budget supermarket and buy a loaf of sliced white plastic bread for 26p and 7 tins of their perfectly acceptable own-brand baked beans for 9p each. With a dash of Lea & Perrins and a knob of butter that was a week’s lunches for under £1. Nuffin’ wrong with beans on toast.

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: September 5, 2013, 1:23 am

Christopher, That movie came out the year after my antenna build, and as I remember, that scene got me a-standin’

Hope that’s not TMI.

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