My kids are in baseball camp. I am actively choosing to write a blog post about baked beans. Yep, that’s how pointless I’ve become. But this is happening. Honest! There is some deep double meaning to all this, the bean thing, well that’s a metaphor for the sheer depth of my writing here. Stay with me campers!
So, when I arrived in America I was aware of some intercontinental baked bean discrepancies thus:
- I couldn’t find the Heinz ones
- The main brand was Bush’s. They looked “beany” in principle. I bought a can of “ORIGINAL” and didn’t read the small print. It had bacon in it! (I don’t eat bacon).
- To get Bush’s beans without bacon, I had to buy SPECIFICALLY, vegetarian beans. They had VEGETARIAN written clearly on them*
- Bush’s baked beans were very, very sweet
*OK this seems very logical, but not when you think baked beans ARE vegetarian and that the ones with BACON in are the line extension.
Anyway, 2 years in and a bit of intense research (*see methodology below), I understand the American/British cultural bean differences. Here’s a helpful guide:
(*Research methodology: I asked my American running friends how they ate beans on a group text)
For Americans wishing to understand Brit Beaning:
- In England, baked beans are mainly by Heinz. Branston do some – they make Branston Pickle and their bean sauce is .. you guessed it, Branston Pickly. This is like a Pepsi/Coke battle.
- Baked beans on Toast is a very common and staple light meal. Some people put cheese on (cheddar cheese). These are called Cheesy beans. Really fancy Brits put marmite on the toast first, but that’s a whole other barn dance.
- Baked beans are regularly used as a vegetable side dish. Common applications:
- Fish fingers, oven chips and beans
- Sausage, mashed potato and beans
- Fried breakfast: Sausage, bacon, egg, mushrooms, toast… BEANS
- In England you will NEVER find baked beans at a BARBEQUE (that which you would call a COOKOUT). If, as an American, you were to take beans to a “Cookout-beque”, the British people would think you were doing Blazing Saddles satire and challenging them to a fart contest. (It’s worth doing though)
- There are sub variants of Heinz beans. One with pork sausages – like your hot dogs and a kind with curry sauce. These aren’t really serious things.
For Brits who might go to America:
- You can really only find Heinz beans in the tiny international section of supermarkets. They will cost you the equivalent of about 3 quid a can and will not always be in stock. (See ’em, buy ’em).
- As mentioned, Bush’s are the main brand, (beware the bacon … and even if you do like the bacon, prepare to adjust your definition of bacon – I only ever spat it out, but I’m pretty sure it’s not bacon as you know and love it)
- Bush’s beans are actually quite tasty. The bean element is the same (haricot/navy). The sauce is really sweet -s’got brown sugar in – and that’s a major selling point, not a pesky hidden ingredient like the sugar in Heinz. Heinz beans are sweet. but If you try these, you will never detect sweetness in Heinz ever again.
- American’s DO take beans (with bacon and brown sugar – often homemade) to cook outs WITHOUT any reference to Blazing saddles. Cookouts, as an accompaniment to hot dogs appear to be the main use!
And that’s all I have to say about it.
And the hidden metaphor? THERE ISN’T ONE. Ain’t no meaning to this beaning. I’m this pointless! Party Hearty…