Beans, beans, the musical fruit
The more you eat, the more you toot
The more you toot, the better you feel
So eat your beans at every meal!
I hate that little ditty. If I were a bean I’d sue.
Though I realize my legal action might be considered a frivolous lawsuit. Because I know full well that it’s hard to prove libel when the scandalous statements are true. Beans make you fart.
You can pretend like they don’t (and I do). But beans make you fart.
They contain the sugar raffinose, which isn’t something we humans are able to digest properly. When these sugars reach your intestine in their improperly digested form, the bacteria in your intestines– whose job it is to tackle whatever crap (pardon the pun) we gulp down our gullets– has to work extra hard to send it packing out the other end. The by-product of all that hard work is gas. But p’shaw. Who cares, right? So what. I love beans. After all, what’s a little flatulence between friends?
Besides beans aren’t the only musical fruit. And here lies the crux of my legal argument. I am not a lawyer, but I think a good strong case could be made on the grounds of malicious malignment. Because all sorts of foods make you fart!
So why do beans bear all the burden? Even Bart Simpson likes to sing about beans and their “musical” qualities. In fact if I were a lawyer. Bart Simpson would be the first witness I would call, and the first question I would ask would be: “Why aren’t there embarrassing ballads to…”
Cruciferous vegetables. Cauliflower and broccoli contain the same type of sugar as beans. So open the window if you plan to eat them uncooked. There’s no way to reduce their gassiness if you eat them raw.
Fruit. Fruits contain fructose, another sugar which is difficult to digest.
Dairy products. Dairy products contain lactose, or milk sugar. The majority of people are lactose intolerant, meaning they can’t digest lactose properly and may develop gassiness, discomfort or stomach upset if they eat it. Eating lactose can make you fart if you are slightly lactose intolerant.
High-fructose corn syrup. This is a common sweetener that sneaks its way into all kinds of processed foods. Since it contains high levels of fructose, it can make you fart.
Whole grains. Fiber-rich foods are promoted as part of a healthy diet, but also contain indigestible carbohydrates that make you fart.
Chewing Gum. Chewing gum can make you fart because when you chew gum, you swallow air.
Soda. Carbonated beverages like soda have a flatulent effect: when you put gas inside your body, it has to escape somewhere, either by burping or farting.
But I am not here to dis these other foods. There is room for more than one musical fruit in my symphony. But I am here to convince you that beans deserve your love. Take these Marinated Shell Beans with Roasted Tomatoes. They are super similar to the beans you’d pay big bucks for at Nancy Silverton’s and Mario Batali’s Los Angeles restaurant Mozza. Now why would you pay big bucks for a “musical fruit” if it’s only redeeming quality was that it made you fart? I don’t think you would. So come on, eat your beans at every meal… GREG
This is my selection for the Gojee Virtual Potluck. Starting on Thursday, January 26, check out other potluck dishes fellow gojee contributors shared. Go to gojee.com and enter “gojee potluck” into I Crave. You can also follow #gojeepotluck on Twitter.
- 1 lb fresh shell beans in any combination, such as borlotti, black eyed peas, christmas lima, flageolet, cranberry
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 T kosher salt, plus more for tomatoes
- 1 lb cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 c flat leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
- 1/4 c fresh oregano, leaves only, chopped
- 1/2 c lemon vinaigrette
Put each type of bean in a separate saucepan and cover by 2 inches with water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, add 1 tablespoon salt to each pot and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the beans are tender, but are not so soft as to be mushy. Between 20 and 45 minutes. Add more water while cooking if necessary. Each type of bean will require a different cooking time so monitor them closely. When cooked turn the heat off and let the beans cool completely in the water.
Meanwhile. Adjust oven rack to the center position, then preheat to 300 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, roll the tomatoes in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Place a wire rack onto a baking sheet and spread the tomatoes out onto the wire rack in a single layer. Place in the oven and roast until the skins are shriveled but they are still plump and moist, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let the tomatoes cool to room temperature.
Combine the cooked, cool beans in a large mixing bowl. Add the parsley, oregano and the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper, then carefully stir the beans to combine the flavors. Let the beans sit and marinate at least an hour. Transfer to a serving plate, top with roasted tomatoes and more black pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.
Greg Henry writes the food blog Sippity Sup- Serious Fun Food, and contributes the Friday column on entertaining for The Back Burner at Key Ingredient. He’s active in the food blogging community, and a popular speaker at IFBC, Food Buzz Festival and Camp Blogaway. He’s led cooking demonstrations in Panama & Costa Rica, and has traveled as far and wide as Norway to promote culinary travel. He’s been featured in Food & Wine Magazine, Los Angeles Times, More Magazine, The Today Show Online and Saveur’s Best of the Web. Greg also co-hosts The Table Set podcast which can be downloaded on iTunes or at Homefries Podcast Network.