Beans, beans the musical fruit, the more you eat the more folks scoot…away from you!

by Ken Carpenter



            Dried beans have been cultivated as a staple of the human diet for over 9000 years. Interestingly enough, a clue perhaps to the picky society we live in, Beano did not make an appearance until the last half of the 20th century. More on that later.

            Unfortunately for the snobs of the world, who do not take chances with their all-important status, beans are often described as peasant food. They are cheap, durable, easy to grow, healthy and most important to us peasants, tasty.

            I was raised to believe in the power of a pot of beans to nourish the body, soothe the soul and stir the innards. There are few things more comforting on a Sunday afternoon than the aroma of a bubbling stew of beans, meat and seasonings. Almost any combination will do.

            There are some pitfalls to avoid in the cooking of beans. Number one; there are rocks in the bag with them. Take them out. Amazingly, I have met a couple people who did not know this. So yes, rock soup is a dish in some circles.

            Number two; recipes invariably call for you to soak the dried beans overnight before cooking them. This is not necessary, and some even see it as a sissified attempt to reduce the gas-inducing power of the tiny seeds. A culinary male would never do such a thing for fear that it might reflect poorly on his manhood.

            Before going any further, I must point out that I know numerous people who will never eat beans in any way, shape or form. They are all women who claim that beans make them sick, which is their delicate manner of saying they do not like the flatulencial side effects.

            To this I have only one thing to say, “Hah! Take a nice long walk and nobody will ever know.”

            After cleaning and rinsing the beans, throw them in a pan with whatever you want and fill the pot with water. Always include garlic, for garlic is one of the two foods of the gods. Beans are the other one.

            Bring the conglomeration to a boil and boil the sin out of it for ten minutes before turning it down to a simmer. There is a reason for this that is not common knowledge. Beans, lentils, and peas, fresh or dried, contain toxins called lectins that can cause stomach cramps, nausea and diarrhea if they are not boiled before being eaten.

            I know, I know, raw peas and green beans can be tasty and they never killed anyone. Don’t ask me any more about it, because I am just repeating what the little nerd in the book told me. In truth, he looked like the type to avoid eating something for fear of a gas attack so maybe he can’t be trusted.

Hmmm, I wonder if some of those ladies actually did get sick? Just to be safe, I’ll boil mine for a bit.

            Beans take hours to cook, depending on which of the hundreds of varieties you choose. They are better because of it, for smelling them all afternoon gets the appetite boiling along with them.

            Always make enough to last for several meals, because they get better every day.

            If you are used to serving wine with your meals, don’t, have a beer instead. Beans are not wine food.

            If you have finicky guests over for dinner, go ahead and put a bottle of Beano on the table.

            Don’t ask me if it works though.

            I never touch the stuff.