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Beans and legumes are some of the most underrated foods on the planet, and eating more beans and legumes as a source of protein instead of meat is also environmentally friendly. People can add beans to their favorite recipes, replace meat with beans, and try new bean-based spreads.
They are excellent sources of dietary fiber, protein, B vitamins and many other important vitamins and minerals. There is good evidence that they can help reduce blood sugar, improve cholesterol levels and help maintain a healthy gut.
So, in my investigation of all things bean-related (within US dry bean varietals, of course!) I have found my obsessions to be two fold....so far: 1) in what I like to call ‘the bean sheen’, which is the lovely way dry beans pick up light in such a beautiful way....after an overnight soak, they have this polished stone-like glimmer, and their natural colours start popping just like a pebble’s hidden colour comes out when you see it shining away in a little pool of water, as opposed to when dry and muted on the beach; 2) BEAN POTS!! This curvaceous earthenware is so satisfyingly plump and happy looking, especially when brimming full of beans simmering in savoury, sweet, sticky sauce.....not to mention their history in North America and all over the world.....every nation has their own version and they cook everything in the most perfect way, as the clay works to moisten the contents, whether beans, rice or otherwise to a softness and luxurious state - never too dry, never to wet. This illo is a salute to beans (I’ve got a real bean party in every pot here with navy, baby Lima, cranberry, black, adzuki, kidney and great Northern all enjoying each other’s company) and these incredibly functional, not to mention aesthetically-pleasing cooking vessels.
For ages and ages there was this very satisfyingly plump pottery pot on my grandma’s kitchen shelf at our family cottage. I had no idea what the purpose for it was, but as a wee kiddo, I sure loved staring at its glossy surface....I remember it reflecting any light in the room brilliantly. Just a cool beans sheen this chubbo pot had. It was yellow, but had definitely been well used into more of a deep mustard hue on its hot spots. The only thing I’d ever seen prepared in it was my other grandma’s wild rice casserole, which though very healthy, I didn’t like too much (note: I’m sure there are some beautiful, toothsome wild rice casseroles out there, seasoned and delicious but this one was BLAND). Anyhow, I didn’t realize until just today (legit) that this lovely pot’s sole reason for being was to cook....wait for it....beans!!!!!!!! And I’m sure they’d be delicious. Maybe next summer on a rainy, coolish night, I’ll try baking up some sweet, sticky, mustardy, boozy baked beans. Oh, it’s a must. Hail the beautiful bean pot! Curvaceous and so enticing ;) this - albeit quick - sketch is just an ode to the happiness that this lovely kitchenware brings me, in both nostalgia and potential. I’m also really trying to just let myself loose a bit more with illustrating. I loved the quote Salli posted the other day....“I’d rather have no style than any style” (Ed Ruscha, via Salli Swindell). Trying to get out of the headspace of comparison and pressing too hard (literally and figuratively) and instead just letting the ideas flow. Definitely a work in progress to be mindful in this practice.