America on a Plate
January 24, 2016
“I’m going to make my beans,” my friend Mitch announced as we were trolling through the supermarket. “When I was poor I lived on these.” He began loading the cart with cans, and I looked on, dubious, as he he added a package of bacon.
I’ve always been partial to Buster’s Beans, which I published in my first cookbook, Mmmmm: A Feastiary. They do, however, take an entire day (and night) to prepare.
Mitch’s, on the other hand, are easy. And – to my surprise – incredibly delicious.
Mitch began by cooking 6 strips of bacon. When they were done, he removed them from the skillet, leaving just enough bacon fat to saute a chopped onion, 5 minced cloves of garlic and a diced jalapeno (use less if you’d like something milder).
When the vegetables were translucent and aromatic he added 2 cans of pinto beans, a 14 ounce can of tomatoes and a tablespoon of cumin. (He says you need a LOT of cumin.) Stirring that all up he diced the bacon, threw it into the pot and left it to simmer on a very low flame for a couple of hours.
He added salt and pepper and we ate the beans – with grilled chicken and coleslaw – with enormous pleasure.
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Yum. Sounds like a keeper. We were just talking about baked beans today!
Not exactly vegan/vegetarian, but I seldom buy/eat bacon. I’m thinking because of the garlic and cumin that I could just use olive oil. I know, bacon, and obviously more tasty with than without, but I’m going to try. There’s a recipe Sunday Beans from the NYTimes that has lots of cumin and also bacon, but I make the recipe without the bacon, serve over rice with cilantro and green onions, really good bean recipe, especially the second day.
Serving this over rice does sound good, with or without bacon, which I do love but seldom have on hand. Looks particularly good, wish I had a pot of it simmering on the stove right now.
I just looked up Mmmm: A Festiary to see how much it was and it was very out of sight in price. Have you checked lately? I’ll try the library. Very remarkable to have a book on Amazon at that price.
Boy do I remember those Buster’s beans! That’s a very young me sitting in the lawn chair next to him in the photo in your cookbook. As I recall that’s about all we were eating at the time but they were really tasty and we sure look healthy!
Ann! How are you? I love that picture so much: you in a vintage dress, with long straight hair. So great to hear from you. I think about you, hope you’re well and thriving.
Joy – MMMMM is crazy expensive because it’s 45 years old – and it was a small printing. It was actually one of the first books that was published simultaneously in hardback and paperback. And there were only 3,000 copies printed in hardback. So it’s rare. I’ve seen copies sell for as much as three thousand dollars!
Just made Buster’s baked beans myself. My sister Ann is pictured with him in the cookbook. Fun! And great beans.
Just made Buster’s baked beans myself. My sister Ann is pictured with him in the cookbook. Fun and great beans!