Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Beans On Toast

Tonight we had a salad, hamburgers and baked beans. Typically, I served my beans on hot buttered toast, English style, a meal or side also adored by Australians and New Zealanders. I learned about this delectable combination in June,1956 during my first trip to England, on Army leave. While I realize that the authentic dish includes Heinz beans in tomato sauce, I prefer Boston style beans, our my family’s Saturday night dinner for many years.

Now let us review a strange bean incident during our trip to Aukland, New Zealand the beginning of a 42 day cruise to Thailand. We arrived on a late afternoon and stayed at the America’s Cup Sailing Centre. We toured the area and discovered that NZ was an expensive place to visit. The cheapest dinner in a local restaurant was a plate of spaghetti for US $29. Next, we stopped by a wine store and found one of my favorite NZ wines. I placed it on the counter and the cashier said  “That will be $35 American.”  I said,  “This wine is produced 50 miles from here and I purchase it in the US, thousands of miles away, for $9, you must be mistaken.”  His response was “Welcome to New Zealand.”   Mine was to leave the wine on the counter and walk away.

The next morning, while dressing, we watched a TV show that featured 3-4 minute vignettes of local news. One of the stories was a celebration held by the Aukland women’s basketball team that had just won a championship game. It was held in the team captain’s cramped apartment where the team mates were preparing a “very special” dinner, for this important occasion, which consisted of baked beans on toast. The announcer gave complete details as to the tall center making toast in the oven and the hostess preparing the canned baked beans by heating them in a pan, and serving them at a crowded dining table, all of which was recorded in detail by the video camera, 

At first I thought that this was a a light hearted spoof, however the announcer’s tone and the girls’ conversations soon confirmed that the this was serious affair. This was confirmed recently by an article in a food magazine that was comparing a dozen or so of  tomato based canned beans. The inhabitants of the British Isles consume more than a million cans a day, while New Zealanders open 65,000 tins each day. And now, in the midst of the pandemic, bored stay-at-home bean lovers have discovered the awful combination of Weetabix, whole-grain wheat breakfast cereal biscuits covered with Heinz tomato based baked beans. At this point I will remain half crazy by enjoying hot buttered toast smothered with Boston Baked Beans. 

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