Today is National Bean Day! It is also National Shortbread Day. If you see an asterisk in the title, that means there are multiple food holidays on that date. We stated in the rules that when there are multiple holidays, we will choose at least one, but don’t have to incorporate them all. Some days are devoted to three and even four different foods. It’s just not feasible to cover every single one, but we’ll try our best. We’ll even let the readers choose sometimes!
What does January 6th have to do with beans? There’s no concrete evidence, but many believe today was chosen to commemorate geneticist Gregor Mendel, who experimented with bean plants to test his theories on inherited traits. Mendel died on January 6, 1884.
Beans have been cultivated for eons. They have been found buried with the dead in ancient Egypt, and were mentioned in Homer’s (the Greek poet, not the dimwitted yellow guy so fond of Duff Beer) The Iliad, published in the 8th century. It’s a little known fact that the famous poet penned the couplet “beans, beans, good for the heart/the more you eat, the more you fart.” His legacy lives on in schoolyards across the world to this day. Beans are even older than that: there is evidence they date as far back as 700 years B.C.! Which means it’s entirely possible that a caveman could have whipped up a nice stegosaurus and bean stew way back in the Jurassic era.
Oh, in case I haven’t mentioned it yet, my facts may be a little off here.
How many different types of beans are there? There’s fava beans, azuki beans, mung beans, chickpeas, peas, lentils, lima beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, soybeans, black beans, velvet beans, wax beans, green beans. I’d continue, but I’m beginning to sound like that dude in Forrest Gump.
With so many choices available, we were stumped as to what to cook, so we left the decision up to our Facebook followers. The results were unanimous: black beans won in a landslide victory. Whew! I was thankful lima beans didn’t clinch the win. I’m not exactly fond of them. As for Tara, she isn’t fond of any type of bean, but in keeping with the spirit of the challenge – and following those same rules we came up with – she did have one bite. We ended up making nachos with ground turkey and black beans. Yummy stuff!
So, are beans good for your heart? The FDA says yes: “Diets including beans may reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers.” Boo-yah!
And yes, they really do lead to flatulence. Hey, that’s why they invented Glade, right?
For dessert, we had shortbread cookies. I’ve always been fond of shortbread! It originated in Scotland and is descended from biscuit bread served in Medieval times. One can imagine King Arthur noshing on this stuff while deciding which country to invade next.
The Scots still take their shortbread seriously. Often, it is broken over the heads of new brides in hopes that this will lead to a prosperous union. I doubt it leads to much more than crumbs for a few lucky birds, but then again, we throw uncooked rice over here, so who’s to knock their tradition?
And look at that…we managed to cover both food holidays today. Go, us!
Tomorrow we break out the deep fryer and drown a whole bunch of vegetables in hot oil. What can I say? We’re a couple of sadists.