Beans on Toast
I was browsing my local supermarket one day when I realized that
they now have an "international food" isle. Actually, this isle was
probably there since the store opened in 2005 and I never bothered to
check it out before.
Most of the stuff in the isle is stuff found in other isles only
arranged in categories like Jewish foods like matzo and matzo ball mix,
Asian food, including imported ramen and instant rice mixes, dried
noodles, various Asian sauces, and then I had this huge spit take when
I realized there was a "British food" section.
I find it odd that an American supermarket would have a "British food"
section seeing as a lot of "American" foods like Apple Pie (which I
have dubbed a proper noun for some reason) were ripped off from Britain
to begin with. According to my local supermarket, British people eat
oatmeal, lemon jam, and Mars Bars.
Why the hell are Mars Bars nearly impossible to find here? You would
think that Mars Bars would be Mars' flagship candy aside form M&Ms,
but for some reason these candy bars are only sold everywhere else but
the US it seems. I still haven't tried a Mars bar for myself actually,
because the imported Mars Bars are three dollars each and for that
price I could get perhaps six Milky Way or Snickers bars at the
checkout. Excuse that, I mean THREE Snickers or Milky Ways, not six. I
was reckoning in 2001 dollars there for a moment.
I was about to walk away and carry on shopping, and then a flash of
turquoise caught my eye, and I stopped in my tracks and nearly dropped
my shopping basket as I saw...
For some reason even odder than the lack of US Mars Bars, Heinz Beans
are kind of a specialty food in the US, it's one of this things I never
realized we didn't have until I saw them here in the International
section. Heinz dosen't meanz beanz in the US. In America Heinz meanz
ketchup and relish and very little else. Perhaps pickles. I don't know.
Anyway, this was the first time I saw a can of Heinz Beans on a shelf,
and of course when I point them out to Mom and she says "Oh! Perfect!
Now you can make proper beans on toast!"
So I put a can in the basket and kept it on my dresser when I get home
so no one would see it in the pantry and eat it before I could get to
Finally, a few days later, lunchtime came around and I didn't have
anything perishable in the fridge waiting for me to finish, so I got
the can of beans out from my room and prepared the kitchen for
something remotely resembling cooking.
Knowing nothing about beans on toast besides hearing from Mom that she
had it for lunch while she was in the UK back in the day, I went online
and watched an educational video on how to make beans and toast, and also read several webpages on the subject.
I correctly guessed that the "recipe" was essentially as simple as
making toast, heating up some beans, and putting the beans on the
toast, but I wanted to make sure I was doing it right so I didn't eff
it up by skipping some essential yet not obvious ingredient or step and
getting chewed out by beans and toast fans for messing up their
According to the educational video, I had to heat the beans on a stove
top in order for this to be legit, so I washed out the pot Dad cooked
his Cream of Wheat in that morning and started heating the beans.
I tried to have the toast come out the same time the beans were nice and hot, but that didn't work out too well.
During the time when the beans were still cool on the stove and the
toast was not yet fully toasted, I got out a couple of pats of butter
ready to spread on the toast, because that's what the educational video
said I had to do.
At this point I admit i was kind of skeptical about how these beans
would come out. Compared to US canned beans, these looked kind of sorry
and lacking in definition. American beans are darker and sweeter, these
are tangy and a bit bitter, and paler looking. Sort of like school
cafeteria beans. Also, Heinz Beans are stored in tomato sauce. Why
aren't Heinz Beans stored in bean sauce? At least its not as silly as
when canned peaches and oranges are stored in pear juice.
I started by heating up a half can of beans, because according to the
internet a half can is good for two slices of toast and I wanted to try
a couple to make sure I like them before I invested an entire can and
four slices of toast. Also, I could barely fit two slices of toast as
When both the beans and toast were ready, I spread the butter and
plopped the beans on top. Its true, a half can is prefect for two
slices of toast.
The educational video said shredded cheese was optional, but the
shredded mozzarella I used on my "toast pizzas" didn't seem
appropriate, so I left my beans and toast un-garnished.
I ended up liking this a lot better than I expected to. In fact I may
even keep a couple of cans of Heinz Beans around for the occasional
Saturday afternoon snack.
I made two more slices of toast right away to finish off the bottom
half of the can. I had a close call where one of the second two slices
of got snagged inside the toaster as they popped out, so I had to
unclog the toast with a fork (after unplugging the toaster of course)
and luckily the toast was not ruined or burnt.
Anyone looking to attempt beans on toast for themselves, my warning to
you is this: once you pick the toast up off the plate, don't put it
back down, just hold it with your fingertips till you finish the entire
slice. Putting the toast back on the plate will allow condensation to
from on the underside of the toast, compromising its hot crispyness.
Does anyone live outside the US and their local food store has an
"American food" section? I bet its filled with Oreos and ingredients
for making potato chip sandwiches.
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