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An explosion was heard in rural Sussex over the weekend

Been on a bean streak lately. You know, dried beans, soak ’em overnight, cook ’em with fatback. It’s probably a variety of homesickness; I come from a bean eating people.

When I went away to college, I had to call my mother and ask her, “when we have a bowl of beans…what exactly kind of beans are those?” At the time, my ignorance embarrassed me, but turns out it’s not such a dumb question. There are many varieties of small white bean, and recipes play fast and loose with the definitions.

The one I was looking for was probably the navy bean, which is called that because we stuffed American sailors full of them in the late 19th, early 20th. And I know that’s true, because I’ve just reached the point in Norman Rockwell’s autobiography where he joins the navy, and he describes desperately painting portraits if the officers to ingratiate himself and escape the endless beans in the regular mess. Poor bastards.

Those beans are called haricot beans here and they are the base bean for Heinz baked beans. Yup, hard to believe those vile neon orange fuckers are made out of the innocent white navy bean, but it’s true.

One of our local markets put a bunch of beans on the reduced rack — the more exotic varieties just weren’t selling, I guess — so I have some new and wonderful beans to try. I’m especially looking forward to adzuki beans, which are little read beans used in desserts in the East.

Why I thought you might like to spend the weekend here talking about beans, I couldn’t say, but allow me to recommend the Bean Institute‘s quarterly newsletter if the conversation runs dry. Good weekend, beaners!

February 28, 2014 — 10:45 pm
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