Beans: A History

Beans: A History

Ken Albala

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 1845204301

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Whether refried, baked, falafelled, or complementing a nice Chianti, the humble bean has long been a part of gourmet and everyday food culture around the globe. As Ken Albala shows, though, over its history the bean has enjoyed more controversy than its current ubiquity lets on. From the bean's status as seat of the soul (at least, that's what Pythagoras thought) to seed of sin (or so said St. Jerome, who forbade nuns to eat beans because they "tickle the genitals"), Beans is a ripping tale of a truly magical fruit.

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rejects when meat is abundant, or when austerity and self-punishment is considered foolish. John Milton expresses this best in his mask Comus. In a call to accept nature’s bounty and eat freely of all her gifts, he wonders how anyone could live on beans alone. . . . If all the world Should in a pet of temp’rance feed on pulse, Drink the clear stream and nothing wear but frieze, Th’all-giver would be unthank’d, would be unpraise’d, Not half his riches known, and yet despis’d; . . . Further

Santeria in the Caribbean. There too the Orishas are fed with their favorite foods. Obatala, for example, prefers yams, rice flour paste, corn meal dumplings and black-eyed peas. Yemaya, the mother of the Orishas, also eats black-eyed peas, watermelon and fried pork rinds, while Oxun prefers them in savory dishes with shrimp and palm oil. The specifics of each sacrifice differ among various forms of worship, but black-eyed peas are one of the most important, traditional foods these discriminating

been one er these here hide-boun’ folks what thinks nothin’ good can’t come outer a can . . . I ain’t sayin’ boughten baken beans don’t need boostin’ up a bit ter make ’em mo’ tastified . . .”. To this end she adds ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and bacon, another indication that this is intended for an audience who cares to reenact only a cartoon version of traditional African-American cooking. Such dishes, and in particular black-eyed peas, were eaten by pretty much everyone in the South; they

there are also some white, but they are lesse, and rounder than the great white ones.” These, he advises, should be sown in beds in four rows. When they fruit, some are eaten green and others left on the plant to ripen for seed. Keeping in mind that these beans are self-sowing, he knows that the next year they will come back true to form. Furthermore, “The painted, and the coloured Beans which are a lesser sort, are commonly sown in the open ground, newly dug and raked over, without any further

is made by taking quickly boiled and hulled soybeans and inoculating them with Rhizopus oligosporus mold. This breaks down the beans, which are wrapped in banana leaves for about two days resulting in a solid cake, which is then sliced and used in mixed dishes, fried or steamed. Unlike tofu, tempeh is very dense, slightly lumpy and in flavor very meaty, and with about 20 percent protein, it compares nutritionally with meat. It is also one of the few vegetable sources of vitamin B12. Other kinds

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