Friday, March 16, 2012

To bean or not to bean.....

I used to detest all beans aside from green beans.  Specifically my Aunt Sallie's canned green beans, barring those regular green beans in the can.   I detested it when people did weird things with green beans and added sugar or something else suspicious.   Eventually more beans were forced upon me.   Black-eyed peas from the can were ok.  If pressed I would also reluctantly eat butter beans or lima beans, again without sugar and other weirdness.  I really like pork and beans.  I liked chili from the can with beans.  One magical day we (Mama and I) got either Patio or El Charrito frozen Mexican dinners.  They had odd things in them called enchiladas, and the weirdest....refried beans!?!  Mama could figure out what enchiladas were....but we didn't understand refried beans. They weren't crispy and didn't seem very fried.  Southern folk have crispy fried things.  We just didn't understand how they were fried the first time, much less refried.   I didn't care much for them at first.  I think Mama was disgusted.  TV dinners came in metal trays and there was NO escaping the metallic taste when fork or spoon scraped tray.  The metallic taste wasn't too bad, I guess we were used to it.  We decided we liked Mexican food well enough, despite the confusing beans.  Then something happened....the next time I added Louisiana red to them.  They were better!!!  I also started my love affair with spicy food then.
Soon I was flat out addicted to refried beans.  I had them with and without sour cream and cheese.  With and without jalapenos.  But always hot.  Sometimes they would taste like chili if I added some of the enchiladas or tamales to them. 
I had homemade chili after Mama died and I moved in with Mom.
My Mom made the first and best homemade chili I had ever tried.  I learned there were other toes of beans.  Pinto's, kidney's, navy's, lentils...etc.  I also learned we were supposed to ruin perfectly good cornbread by covering it with boiled beans.  I adapted, but I still prefer my cornbread and beans separated.
Later living in Pensacola FL.  I tried the mysterious Red beans and rice.  I had seen it on the Popeye's Chicken menu but always ordered dirty rice.  This time Popeye's was out, or they screwed up...(whatever)  and I ended up trying them.  They were good!  I got a Cajun cookbook and tried my hand at red beans and rice.  We had to eat them in a hotel because a hurricane was coming forcing us to evacuate.  The next time I made red beans and rice another hurricane was in the gulf and hit.  Being slightly superstitious I stopped making red beans and rice during hurricane season.  My bean cooking career started in earnest.
When we had a son and the small, trusting child would ask innocently and trustingly "What's for dinner?"  with beans on the menu,  unfailing my husband (terrible sense of humour...feel my pain) would answer "oh hundreds of good things!"  Trusting child would become all excited about this.  He soon wisened up and no longer got excited.  I blame my husband for the current level of skepticism our surly 13 year-old has.
Recently my husband nearly wept in a thrift store.  I thought it was with joy at the lovely item I held aloft.  He then gasped out, "Why?? What did they ever do to deserve that?"  I was holding this lovely serving tray:

<<<<<<Beans forever immortalized!

 Beans from New Zealand!!  Yes I've eaten foreign beans!!  >>>>>>>

<<<<<Bowl of beans!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You make the best baked beans there are to be had!