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A Rant: We Are Not Normal


This was in our newsletter a couple of weeks ago and it clearly had an impact on some of our bean buddies. I thought I'd reprint it here. Maybe you recognize yourself. - Steve

It’s easy to like our customers. People who cook and appreciate heirloom beans tend to be more interesting, nicer, and enjoy a better quality of life. I live in a bubble of delicious food and like-minded people so I sometimes lose track of life in the “real world.” I prefer hanging out with my fellow bean freaks.

You may not realize it but as time marches on, we home cooks are becoming rarer and rarer. The fact that we get excited about a new bean, a cooking pot, or even a new wooden spoon, puts us in the minority. Most of us think of cooking as fun and a great way to bring people we care about together. We see a pound of beans and we imagine how we’ll be cooking them, how we’ll be serving them, and maybe the smiling faces that will be eating them. I have a constant vision of leaving the kitchen and walking towards the dining room table with a huge pot of something good between my hands as I ask for help finding a trivet. This is possibly my favorite moment of the day. I try and do it most nights.

A meal kit is fine, I suppose. A frozen dinner is an emergency. Are there good ones? I don't know that I've ever had a decent frozen dinner. A dinner out is fun and sometimes inspirational. But a refrigerator full of cooked beans, roasted vegetables, stocks and broths, pickles and condiments, is like a palette waiting to be put to use to create something new. I have cooked Garbanzos, cold chicken, and squash. A soup is born. Chard, black walnuts, and wild rice? There’s a dish right there. I can even ask my 17-year-old son to make his own lunch just by picking out what looks good. (He can cook just fine without my help but a loaded fridge helps avoid the temptation of cans.)

I lovingly packed a lunch to bring to the office today and of course, I left it on the table at home. This was a real drag but I keep cans of sardines in my desk and today the Rancho Gordo store was sampling Marcella beans so I had a nice bean and fish dish, made even better by a pinch of our Burlap & Barrel Smoked Spanish Pimentón Paprika. A wee dash of olive oil? Heaven, and it beat Taco Bell by a mile.

I know you have your tricks like this. And you’ve noodled around to find your favorite technique for making beans. You probably love to share your bounty with friends and if you’re like me, they can give you the “eye roll treatment” from too much information about your favorite beans, but almost all of them love being a guest at your table. Sometimes it may seem thankless but you need to know that our kind is getting to be rarer in a time when what we do is more important than ever. What can make more sense than sharing food at a table with people who need a good meal, simple or fancy? We have a job to do and a role to play, and I thank you for being a part of it! We’re all in good company.


Gretchen Harrison


June Ambrose

Curious if you offer cooking classes

Barbara Benson

Oh, man, that pot!

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