Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, welcoming foodies to discuss the dining scenes in Israel and abroad, along with all things related to kosher food.

Baked Beans

Love 'em
15
65%
Hate 'em
2
9%
Can take or leave them
6
26%
 
Total votes : 23

Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Postby Daniel Rogov » Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:53 pm

Baked beans have been around at least since the days of Apicius. Aesop enjoyed them, Robert Frost included them in his poetry, Hemingway was mad for them, and Jean Paul Sartre considered them "the only cure for what ails me".

I have no idea of what ailed Sartre but a recent set of surveys in the United States, Canada, France and Italy has revealed that baked beans are among the most popular of side-dishes. So popular in fact that baked beans, some vegetarian, some with pork or beef, others with honey, some with molasses, are now part of the offerings at the restaurants of Alain Ducasse, Guy Savoy, Joel Robuchon and Alice B. Waters. Even the French Laundry is offering honey-baked beans as an option with several dishes.

This week's poll – where do we stand on baked beans? In addition to your vote, please let us know whether you purchase them in tins or jars, fresh at delicatessen shops or if you prepare them at home. And if you purchase them in tins – any special brands?
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Re: Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Postby Robert Reynolds » Sat Oct 04, 2008 3:53 pm

I usually start with canned navy beans, then add diced onion, fried and crumbled bacon, molasses and some spices, then bake until bubbly. If I buy ready-made baked beans, it is usually Bush's brand.
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Re: Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Postby Shel T » Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:19 pm

I prefer to make my own but as I do them from scratch so that the low and slow cooking required takes hours, it is an effort to them regularly and so do them maybe twice a year. So...when you have a Jones for baked beans and don't wanna make them, LOL reach for that can (or tin if you prefer), hell I'll even eat Heinz baked beans!
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Re: Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Postby Daniel Rogov » Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:26 pm

I'm with Shel and Robert. Love good baked beans and enjoy making them from scratch, going to the Levinsky Street market in Tel Aviv (it used to be Rue de Buci in Paris), there to buy dried navy beans or kidney beans and then the long, slow cooking methods. When making for the family it's a vegetarian version (two nieces, a sister-in-law and others who won't eat meat), but when for myself invariably with bacon (fried and crumbled), sometimes with fatback, and sometimes even with Proscuitto.

When on picnics, truly desperate or on a whim, Heinz does nicely for me. Learned about a thousand years ago in the Marines that Heinz baked beans, even eaten cold from the tin in sub-zero weather can be a marvelous treat. Also learned that if a fire was available that they are even better hot (and eating them straight from the can makes me feel like Gary Cooper).

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Re: Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Postby Z Spigelman » Sun Oct 05, 2008 4:06 am

We enjoy baked beans but have them with hot dogs only. Prefer the Heinz brand (when we find the kosher ones) but sometimes have to settle for an Israeli brand which requires major doctoring-up to even be edible!
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Re: Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Postby Daniel Rogov » Sun Oct 05, 2008 5:45 am

Even the internet can trigger appetite. I had an eight a.m. meeting this morning at my neighborhood cafe. On the way I stopped to pick up a few things from the supermarket (toilet paper, aluminum foil, etc) and there found tins of Heinz vegetarian baked beans on the shelf. Who am I to resist? Bought one tin, brought it with me to the cafe, opened it with the knife on the corkscrew that I always carry with me, took a spoon from the cafe and enjoyed the beans thoroughly, at shall we say "room temperature" with nothing more than a bit of black pepper stirred in. And then on to coffee and a croissant.

The amusing part of the whole thing was one of my readers walking by, nodding to say hello, doing a double-take and exclaiming aloud, perhaps just a bit shocked ... "Rogov - you? Out of the tin?" All's well that ends well though as I invited her to join me first in finishing off the beans and then a coffee before my appointment showed up.

Good way to start a day.

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Re: Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Postby Shel T » Sun Oct 05, 2008 5:51 am

Daniel, your list of ingredients reminded me how versatile the dish can be and how individual depending on personal taste.
Some of the things I usually or always use are bourbon, salt pork and molasses, sometimes BBQ sauce, bacon and yes, even ketchup!
I like using great northern beans, a personal preference, but have also made them with lots of other varieties that are just as good.
Re eating Heinz at sub-zero temps and how the beans miraculously remain edible, I guess you didn't know that one of the important ingredients is anti-freeze, and it keeps you regular too!
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Re: Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Postby Matilda L » Sun Oct 05, 2008 10:22 pm

In a former life, I was married to a Scottish gentleman, whose idea of culinary heaven was a large plate of fried bacon, egg, chips and baked beans. Sounds like breakfast food, but according to him it was best consumed late at night, along with (large amounts of) ale. Personally, I don't mind baked beans once in a while. Tinned baked beans on toast remind me of childhood winter teas eaten by the fire while the rain lashed down outside. Home made baked beans, slow cooked with molasses, mustard, and what-have-you, are a different experience from a can of beans swimming in tomato sauce.

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Re: Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Postby Ryan M » Sun Oct 05, 2008 10:32 pm

'Love them' might be too strong, but then again, I never pass them up, and finding well made baked beans is a delight. Often at potlucks you have several versions available, and I have been known to try two or three of the best looking ones. Canned are usually pretty pointless - homemade from scratch is the only way to go, and someone who can make great baked beans is a master!
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Re: Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Postby Robin Garr » Mon Oct 06, 2008 3:55 pm

I don't mind baked beans (or in this region, barbecue beans), but having responded to the poll before reading your post (oops!) I answered "Love 'em" with all forms of legume in mind.

A quick plug (at least for U.S. readers) for an online bean vendor with whom I have absolutely no connection except as a very, very satisfied customer: Rancho Gordo handles a remarkable line of dried beans, many of them heirloom and Native American varieties, as well as chile peppers and other good things. Fair prices, quick delivery and outstanding customer service.

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Re: Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Postby Bill Spohn » Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:07 pm

American style, - like 'em - easy on the molasses, heavy on the bacon. (Of course beans have no place in chili....)

When done 'properly', with the addition of various meats, beans are sublime...if you include cassoulet in your definition of baked beans, which it really is.
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Re: Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Postby Jenise » Mon Oct 06, 2008 6:27 pm

As a child, baked beans reigned as my most hated food for years. As I knew them, they were canned pork n' beans (which were popular with my sibs and which I also hated) made even more unspeakable (and mushy) after baking with bacon and too much brown sugar and/or molasses. In the years since my stance has been softened by once somewhere having been served the real deal made from dried beans, and those I loved (as I love cassoulet, etc, but I don't believe you meant to include that.). Not enough to want to make them for myself, but at least I understand that, as with most foods, when it's well made from scratch it's good food. Any other version based on canned beans remains on my Avoid list, and since all experiences but one over my life time have been poor, "hate" comes closest to defining my feelings.
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Re: Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Postby Jeff_Dudley » Mon Oct 06, 2008 9:14 pm

Well, I've never had a Jones for baked beans (using the board's apparent adverb of the month, despite its historically rather pornographic history), but we like to use Dawn's family recipe. It just elevates these "lil thangs" up a notch or two but to get it right, you must use the correct Florida cracker accent while cooking, to get everything to come out "jes rahhht". .

Key ingredients include shocking amounts of garlic, molasses, vinegar, real smoked bacon, swamp cabbage and cayenne.
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Re: Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Postby Jenise » Mon Oct 06, 2008 9:30 pm

Swamp cabbage?
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Re: Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Postby Ken Schechet » Tue Oct 07, 2008 1:28 am

Love em, and I'll tell you why. When I was growing up near New York there was an amazing restaurant called an Automat run by a firm called Horn and Hardart. It was self service. There was prepared food behind a glass door that you unlocked by putting coins in a slot. The dish they were most famous for was baked beans, and they were wonderful. Whenever I have them today I am reminded of exciting trips to New York and the wonderful foods I found there. It's what we call comfort food in the US.
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Re: Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Postby Jeff_Dudley » Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:30 am

Jenise,

Swamp Cabbage (note them caps please, we're now talkin' Old Florida formal-like) is quite a local treat from Southern Florida. It's basically a warm cabbage-like dish made from the heart of the Sabal Palm tree. Recipes abound, but the best versions have this in common: essentially you cut down a mid-life Sabal Palm tree and cut out the heart of palm fruit meat. A market-fresh one or canned will not do. You chop up the meat into cubes, combine with water, spices, onions, garlic (and such), add them tomatoes and chunks of fresh corn, then simmer the whole mess on an open wood file in a big kettle for many hours, outside. Some versions have pork, chicken, gator or exotic meats or game too. It's big work, usually takin' two days minimum. It's a big mess. It's a big batch item. It's really good. I had to see it and do it to believe it. :D

And it's not a trailer trash item. Dawn's female cousins have requested it made for them for their wedding receptions, it's always personally made by their Father and Uncles. It's that kind of thing. Ignore any recipe which includes canned or bottled ingredients, except of course, beer for the cook team.

We serve this alongside our baked beans. Yeeeee-hooooo, it's a good meal. Ahem, back to SoCal speak now.
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Re: Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Postby Charlie Dawg » Tue Oct 07, 2008 11:16 pm

Though I hate beens, I do add them to soup.
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Re: Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Postby Robert Reynolds » Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:20 am

Jeff_Dudley wrote:And it's not a trailer trash item.


Don't believe it - Florida's got trailer parks the size of Cincinnati, fer cryin' out loud! The whole interior of the state is one whopping trailer trash zone! LOL :wink:
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Re: Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Postby Jeff_Dudley » Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:19 pm

Robert,

I love it. Yes, I'll amend that earlier comment as follows:

"...And it's not just a trailer trash item."

Oh, and I've seen Tulsa. :wink:
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Re: Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Postby Daniel Rogov » Wed Oct 08, 2008 2:58 pm

Don't knock trailers. Quite a few years ago, hiking the Appelachian trail with an uncle (the hero of my life), we came one night across an abandoned trailer.....the kind that hitches to the back of an auto, a one room affair, and we decided to spend our night there. To our great pleasure we found several tins in the trailer of baked beans and others of corn kernels as well as a third of a bottle of bourbon whiskey. A marvelous night "on the trail".

True, other than that my knowledge of trailers and trailer camps is nil.

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Re: Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Postby Bill Spohn » Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:10 pm

"Beans, beans, the musical fruit....."
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Re: Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Postby Robert Reynolds » Wed Oct 08, 2008 10:03 pm

Jeff_Dudley wrote:Robert,

I love it. Yes, I'll amend that earlier comment as follows:

"...And it's not just a trailer trash item."

Oh, and I've seen Tulsa. :wink:

Hah! I'm not from Tulsa, merely here as a waypoint thru life. :wink:
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Re: Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Postby Leanne S » Fri Oct 10, 2008 2:42 pm

I'm a fan of beans, but I never cook them with that sweet barbecue sauce thing.

Did I tell you about lima bean salad? That's my baked beans substitute. It's from The Vegetarian Epicure. The secret is, after you cook large dried lima beans, you boil down the liquid from the cooking until it's almost gone and very thick, then whisk it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and don't skimp on salt and pepper. It's good hot, cold, or in-between.
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Re: Culinary Poll 012: Beans, Beans and More Beans

Postby Daniel Rogov » Fri Oct 10, 2008 3:13 pm

Leanne, Hi....

Sounds good. Try the same with dried fava beans (Egyptian ful beans) and you'll have a well adored Egyptian, Lebanese and Syrian dish. And, if you want to be truly Middle-Eastern, whisk together with finely crushed garlic to taste.

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