I am a canned bean queen. A pulse prince. A lord of legumes! I have never met a bean (or bean-adjacent item) I didn’t like. I truly believe they are all beautiful and delicious and contain multitudes. They are, in my opinion, the most versatile product to cook in the world. Plus, they’re super affordable. There is not a single bad thing about beans, but I do have one controversial preference: I like them canned.
I know the heads of fine dining chefs and snobby foodies everywhere are exploding as I type this, but I can’t fight the way I feel. Canned beans are wonderful and are superior to dried and fresh beans for a number of reasons. I refuse to be shamed for appreciating convenience!
Dried beans taste delicious when cooked, of course. I know that. I’m not fully out of my mind. Dried beans, however, are a labor of love. The soaking and cooking can take days. While I think the process is beautiful, I have a job! I don’t have three days to make a three-bean salad. I’m barely holding it together as it is. I need lunch and I need it now.
And don’t even get me started on fresh beans. Fresh beans are for Top Chef contestants. They are for people who are trying to prove something or impress in a big way. Let’s take fava beans, for instance, which have not one but two shells you must free them from before you’re able to enjoy them. And then there’s the matter of availability. I have never even seen a fresh garbanzo bean at the grocery store or farmer’s market. And, like any piece of fresh produce, they don’t last that long.
Canned beans, on the other hand, are always available. You can get canned beans at Walgreens! They’re super affordable. Cans of beans are almost always under a dollar. And canned beans last literally forever. They’re a bunker food. A food that doomsday preppers stock their shelves with so they can attempt to withstand the apocalypse. I know I’ll be down for a hearty cassoulet if we have to start dodging zombies.
I commend people for cooking dried or fresh beans. It’s admirable. I’ve done it before and it feels wonderful. There’s something so satisfying about taking a bean from the dried stage all the way to a completed dish. It makes me feel like I’m a cook at a quaint bistro in France preparing a dish for Parisian locals.
Ultimately, I am not a French cook whose job it is to prepare elaborate meals. I am a comedy writer just doing my best. Most days I don’t have time to partake in an artisanal practice. Between a job, a partner, kids, pets, and a social life, who has time for dried beans? Maybe you, and if so, that’s great! I am happy that you are at that point in your life. I, on the other hand, am not. I am just getting home after a long day of work, tending to my dog, running errands for my girlfriend, cleaning my apartment with my roommates, and making content for social media. Thanks to canned beans, I’m able to enjoy a sensationally tasty chickpea salad sandwich that took ten minutes to make and head to bed.