Beans, local food and fuel waste

(This drawing has nothing to do with the subject, but I rather like it, and there´s no chance I´m ever going to post a recipe for yemas de santa teresa, so there you go. And on another off-subject note, here´s a blog I´m totally loving at the moment).

Eat local, seasonal. Buy from people who look like they have spent the past few decades buried in loam. Make a point of choosing the specimens that look more dubious, for they will be the most flavoursome and un-supermarkety.
City dwellers fall for it every time. We´re such suckers.
Take me. I was in La Granja last May. La Granja is beautiful, a small town in the mountains, built around an XVIII century royal palace, with the most gorgeous forests and gardens.
Now, you´d think it would have been enough to walk around and take in the beauty of the flowering chestnuts, but I was heavily pregnant at the time, and so rather lazier than usual. So we walked around the town, and browsed the one shop that was open, a little grocery store.
I love that kind of shop. Time seems to have stopped in many of them, and you find all sorts of fascinating packages of stuff you´d have sworn had stopped production before Franco´s death.
The one famous specialty of La Granja are beans, called judiones, which might be translated as mammoth-beans. So I bought a packet, even though I think cooking your own beans is a waste of fuel. This was all in the "support the yokel" patronizing townie thing. And in the way of such exchanges, I was made to pay through the nose. I staggered out of that shop clutching my wallet, and the beans sat on my counter for a while.
And now, finally, when I´m cooking them, I realize that ye olde merchantman has evidently sold me some very ancient, Franco-era beans. They are still rocky after a couple of hours on the hob, and a good overnight soak.
I don´t know if they´ll ever get to any reasonable softness, but in the meantime, I am bored, and more than ever confirmed in my rule: buy beans in jars, and only ever cook lentils.
And don´t knock supermarkets, they´re not all that evil.

11 comentarios:

ChichaJo dijo...

Good post...I do like making things from scratch and all that but sometimes it's just more practical to use some, in my book, very justifiable, shortcuts. My supermarket carries canned and bottled tomatoes and beans from Spain and I always indulge myself in those (you are actually lucky to live in a country that is known for it's canning excellence!)! :) I take "the long way" only in so much that they give me a happy sense of satisfaction...when I know that it will cross over into hair-pulling stress then I don't bother ;)

Hope you and Pia are enjoying each other to the fullest! :)

Anónimo dijo...

Oh, so disappointing! I think there is nothing like fresh dried beans, soaked and cooked slowly in your kitchen, and then turned into wonderful soups or stews. I've been using my slow cooker for beans lately, so even the act of cooking is not too burdensome!

Preston dijo...

Supermarket beans are the way to go! Besides with a baby in tow I bet canned beans are so much easier! Oh, and I checked out Whip. It's a cool blog and I love Chicago!

Unknown dijo...

Pobre pequeño comercio... Pero yo estoy contigo!Me gustan las multinacionales y el puré de maggi!!
Por cierto me encanta la monja malabarista!...

Anónimo dijo...

Sounds a bit like the two beautiful boxes of salt I bought in a quaint little shop in Sicily.........about as useful as bricks or book ends, which they became, book ends that is.
Your blog was one of my first......I was a late starter and remains a very firm favorite.

Anónimo dijo...

Hi there how are you? I was looking through your blog and found it interesting and wanted to leave you a comment.

I have an ivitation for you to come and visit my art blog here in San Diego, and comment if you will.

I think that you may enjoy the various labels and music videos I design for my art blog, hope to see you here soon and take care :)

xps dijo...

podrían usarse como arma arrojadiza por alguno de los personajes mitológicos de nuestras fuentes favoritas.

Gfron1 dijo...

The problem with supermarket beans is you are limited to variety. I recently served a dinner that included the rare Chaco Canyon River Runner beans and Spotted Horse 4-Corner beans, both from reservations in Arizona/New Mexico. Yes they took a long time to cook, but they had a beauty and taste like no other beans I've had. Then, of course, there's Rancho Gordo's beans. All this to say, keep the cans for emergencies and enjoy a good pot of dry beans. And if you're worried about energy consumption, invest in a pressure cooker. Thanks for another fun read.

lobstersquad dijo...

Chichajo: you´re right, it´s great luck that the beans in jars are so good. otherwise I´d have to cook them more
Lydia: it wasn´t so bad, actually. After another hour they were pretty good. but a slow cooker sounds great
Preston: absolutely!
Gadea: pobre de qué, me metió un clavo que no veas
Rachealeats: thanks. and oh yes, those holiday purchases are the worst. I have some lovely tins of portuguse marinade I´ll never use
Xps: buean idea
Gfron: well, supermarket cooked beans are rather good here, and there are several highly gourmet brands too. But you´re right, when you take the trouble to make them it´s worth it.

Pearl dijo...

"...buried in loam". That was beautiful.

Nice post! I'll be back.


janelle dijo...

Heehee; how funny! I am a sucker, too. Especially in small grocers---I know I would have bought those beans too. LOVE the illustration!