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An American Staple, Rediscovered


Beans are typically associated with international cuisine. Hummus, a garbanzo bean-based spread that trace its origins to the Middle East, red bean paste treats traditionally foundinChinese bakeries, and pulses, frequently used in Indian cuisine, are a few examples. Beans, however, make up an important part of regional American cuisine.

On August 3, 2017, the New Orleans-based Southern Food and Beverage Museum installed a permanent “Red Bean City” exhibit. The goal is to showcase how this particular bean variety is traditionally served for dinner on Monday nights by chefs and home cooks across New Orleans.

The exhibit, sponsored by the Hayward family who own Camellia Beans, opened with a panel discussion and will be followed up with cooking demos, tastings, and other activities this upcoming Saturday, August 12. “Red Bean City” is meant to remain an interactive art expo and will include a wall on which museum goers can post their “Red Bean Secrets” that includes recipes and food memories, reported The Times Picayune.

Dry macaroni will be replaced by beans for children’s art workshops. According to The Times Picayune, a special red bean cake will also be baked to celebrate he birthday of Louis Armstrong, revered musician who famously penned his signature as, “Red Beans and Ricely Yours.” His birthday was August 4.

Coincidentally, on August 8, a new episode of Food Network’s culinary competition, Chopped: Grill Masters premiered and showcased beans. The premise of the show is that chefs are given 4 mystery ingredients to work with in 3-course rounds. Honey chipotle beans were a required final dessert round ingredient. Furthermore, it was deemed the most difficult- and there is typically one per round- ingredient to craft a sweet treat from. Joe Johnson, a native Virginian and Chef de cuisine at Charcoal Venice, won over the judges with a family favorite: a bean cake, underlining the fact that beans are making a comeback in the American culinary world.

This article was written for Better Bean by Reshmi Kaur Oberoi, a writer, and lover of beans. 

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