Here’s Looking at You, Beans
This blog post was written by Ellen Kanner, author of Feeding the Hungry Ghost: Life, Faith and What to Eat for Dinner and her new e-book, Beans: A Handful of Magic.
Casablanca, my favorite classic film, ends with — SPOILER ALERT — Humphrey Bogart telling a teary Ingrid Bergman, “The problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.” Then, before they part, he says, “Here’s looking at you, kid.” I tear up, too. Every time I see it.
But with apologies to Bogie, a hill of beans is very significant. The United Nations agrees with me. They’ve declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses (that’s dried beans). Why do beans get a whole year in their honor? They may look simple but they’ve been a sustaining and sustainable part of every culture. From Calistoga to Casablanca, beans spin every way, from the classic comfort of baked beans to the saucier, spicier bean soups and stews I love. I heart beans and I heart Better Bean Company. They’re a gateway into magic of beans. You should heart them, too, especially during February, American Heart Month.
In addition to being delicious and versatile, beans boost cardiovascular health. They’re high in protein, fiber, phytonutrients and satisfaction. A recent study confirms beans provide the same happy satisfaction of beef without the cow, cruelty, cholesterol or extra calories. A hill of beans supports and nourishes your body. As a crop, beans are easy on the environment and actually improve the soil. And you can’t beat them for value. Beans are da bomb for your your health, for the planet, for your purse.
All this talk of Casablanca and beans makes me long for bissara, a luscious Moroccan fava soup. There’s as many different versions as there are families — everyone makes their own, everyone insists theirs is the best. And they’re all a pain to make, involving peeling the favas by hand. Until now. Better Bean Company’s pinto beans with kale and serrano shortcuts the whole shebang and still delivers rich, authentic flavor in a fraction of the time. It’s almost as good as a visit to Morocco.
Beans offer nourishment, sustainability, value. But more than that, they connect us to our culinary traditions. Beans connect us to who we are and to each other. Here’s to Better Beans. And here’s looking at you, kid.
Check out Ellen’s recipe for Moroccan Bean Soup using Better Beans’ Southwest Pinto Beans.