Full of Beans: A Food Staple Love Story

Back in 2018, I wrote about the bag of beans I found hanging out in the back of my cabinet. It happened to be Rancho Gordo Christmas Lima Beans and I was seriously waxing poetic about them then.

I said I was planning on having them for lunch every day that week, they were that good.

I did not do that.

I got super super bored with them.. they were just pot beans after all.. delicious but.. every day? Same bean? Nope. Didn’t happen.

I didn’t order any beans for almost 2 years. It seemed like too much work and honestly, at the time, I had no understanding of commodity beans vs heirloom small batch beans. I think maybe I bought one bag of Goya beans from the grocery store and tried to make red beans and rice.. it did not go well.

It was the beans. They never ever got soft.. they must have been ancient.

Then, in February of 2020, some long quiet instincts started kicking in. Those ones that said “you better stock up on some stuff”.

I mean, when concerns about Y2K were a thing, my father started storing food like a squirrel.. and storing water and other things… he was an OG Prepper and at the time I was a wee babe of 20 something so I thought it was pretty funny.. my mom actually found some TVP in a jar in the basement sometime last year. No, she didn’t eat it.

I don’t think it’s funny now, and in an odd way, I’m pretty grateful for that little voice that had me ordering beans from Rancho Gordo and Purcell Mountain Farms in February. I didn’t have any real fears of food shortages… just that we might be in for a long, disquieting period of uncertainty and something about those beans started calling to me. As if they would be a source of comfort.

My tiny bean collection in March of 2020

I ordered a small order of beans and after some quick math, I signed myself up for the waiting list for the Rancho Gordo Bean Club, the mythical club that I hear people get into, but I didn’t think I would .. because it had been sold out for a while. I think someone has to leave the bean club for a spot to open up.. but I don’t know the inner workings of Steve Sando’s mind.

As soon as I cooked up some of those beans, I was reminded of how much I loved them. So you can imagine my excitement in October when I saw that the bean club was taking new members… and my excitement when I got in!

My first bean club delivery.. swoon…

Here is the thing about beans that I didn’t know. Commodity beans (meaning those ones you find in the regular grocery stores) are tasty. But Heirloom beans are a whole ‘nother animal.

I have eaten more beans in the past year that I think I’ve eaten in my entire adult life. My mother must be laughing because I used to HATE beans.

I am putting beans in everything! I’m also suddenly eating less meat. Quite the surprising side effect.

The funny thing is that back in 2018, I was all about pressure cooking beans… and now that I’m working from home all the time, I’ve found that an overnight soak and then cooking slowly using the slow cooker function on that same (actually smaller) Instant Pot gives me more control over the final result .. and I get to taste more beans more often