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The Burden of Fame: I Kind of Like It!

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Misc Travel in Mexico

Fame is like caviar, you know - it's good to have caviar but not when you have it at every meal. -Marilyn Monroe I'd be willing to try having caviar with every meal. It's not every day that there's a New Yorker profile about you and your company. I loved it, but of course with an article that long and a subject as personal as beans, there are a few problems. But they're insignificant and I forever will be grateful for this passage:
Watching Sando and Lupe cook, I realized what I’d been doing wrong. I’d been trying so hard to make my family love beans that my dishes had got more and more complicated, like the ones in Oklahoma. I’d added bacon, brown sugar, kielbasa, and Southern ham, whole heads of garlic and bunches of sage; I’d made minestrone, pasta e fagioli, and Brazilian feijoada. Good recipes, but poor psychology. Instead of showcasing the beans, I’d camouflaged them, turned them into a suspect food—an element to be rooted out, like the spinach that parents hide in pizza. “I hate recipes,” Sando said. “I always tell people to cook beans simply, and they always say, ‘Oh, I did. I just used a ham hock and chicken stock.’ Well, in that case you might as well use commercial pintos.”
I have been stressing this from the day I started. I know many folks want more recipes, but I suggest you first start with a bowl of perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned beans and have them with everything: rice, a steak, a stir fry, a burger- whatever makes you happy. Beans are the perfect side dish and heirlooms deserve their moment in the spotlight as the star, not just another ingredient. I also love this quote from me, which I don't remember saying but it's true!
Sando is a rather sheepish addition to that history. He’s uneasy about import regulations, fretful of cultural appropriation, and well aware of his fumbling grasp of Mexican custom. “I’m not the Indiana Jones of beans,” he told me. “I’m the Don Quixote.”
In the end, despite all the personal information about me, it's about heirloom beans, and that's what it should be. I only wish somehow that my joy of being in Mexico was conveyed. The feeling of carnitas fat running down your chin, the small freeze your body feels as you take that first sip of mezcal, the thrill of having your Mexican goddaughter sit on your lap and explain all the dinosaurs to you as she drips paletas juice on your guayabera, looking at a huge plate of breakfast thinking you could never in a million years and then finish every drop by sopping it up with a well-made tortilla, climbing pyramids and archaeological sites mostly in silence and best of all, sitting in the cab of Gabriel and Yunuen's truck and planning and dreaming and loving that two of my best friends are from this magical place and I'm the fucking luckiest guy in the world. This didn't make it into the article, and perhaps I don't express this easily, but this is exactly why I keep my passport renewed and watch the airfares to Mexico City. People are quick to tell me that I don't really look like a bean. No worries. I am too old to have this kind of vanity and it clearly was poetic, not literal. Again, I think it's a great article and Burkhard is a great writer and I was happy to share a slice of my life with him and the rest of the world. And as if this all weren't wonderful enough, I've discovered that Puddles Pity Party is a Bean Person. Applause. Slow curtain. The end. You can read the complete article here.


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