Fear Not the Apocalypse, For I Have Beans

Pretend like the apocalypse happens. And then pretend that your whole house collapses into the dust and all you have left is a sack of dried beans. Your family is fine, don't worry. That photo where everyone looks like the cast of Mayberry, R.F.D. on crack is gone, along with Great Aunt Ethel's puppy plate collection and the shirt that your husband's ex-girlfriend gave him which he won't throw away because it's comfy and perfect for building stuff in (except marital relationships). They're all gone gone gone.

But the beans? They totally survived.

Hallelujah! You shall not die! For you, like the pioneers of old, know exactly what to do with beans! Aside from making smashing pillow stuffers, beans may also be crushed into flour, strung together to make hippie-bead-walls for the lean-to you will be living in post-apocalypse, AND you can eat them. No for reals. You can. Not for nothing have people for millennia stored 800 metric tons of dried beans in their cellars for just such an event.

How do you eat those little bundles of life? Simple. You throw them in water to soak over night, then refresh the water and boil the shortcake out of them the next morning. After that you boil them some more and eat them, or you throw in extras like onions, peppers, garlic, tomatoes, grass, roots, bits of cardboard, whatever you have around. And THEN you boil them some more. If you're lucky you also have salt and pepper post-apocalyptically. If not, oh well. You're lucky to be alive so stop complaining.

And then, did we mention? You eat them. And you love them. For they are delicious and healthful and are the nectar of gas life.

Perhaps you are wondering why I am waxing poetic about beans. No reason. Except that tonight I decided to pretend like the apocalypse had hit. I wanted to see if I could make something from our 800 metric tons of beans that we could not only survive on but enjoy. It's not that I'm some sort of End-Of-The-World-Scenario-ist, or conspiracy-theorist, or just plain weird-ist. It's that I believe in being prepared. So I am, to some degree. To at least the dried-bean degree. Look. We have had to live on whatever we had in storage on several occasions due to layoffs, sluggish new business launches, and general economic downturns. What we had on our pantry shelves saved us a lot of money a number of times. It don't have to be no end of the world-type of situation. I just said all that to make this post more exciting.

But the thing is, we have lived down a lot of our food-stores over the years without being able to replace them. And looking at what we have left, we are going to have to really get to know and love beans if anything remotely Mayan happens in the near future. And that's what this is about.

So how did it turn out? I followed proper bean-procedure. Soaked the little puppies. Boiled them. Added exciting bits to them. Boiled them again. Even threw in some sliced Kielbasa for good measure and to convince the menfolk to eat the mess. Boiled it all yet again for good measure. And finally I tasted it.

Dudes. The beans were hard. Dang if I didn't break a tooth on the silly things. Seriously?

Back to the burner they went. Boil, boil, boil. And after another hour,  taste, taste, taste.


Crunchy. Beans. Still. But on the up side the celery was beginning to resemble green-ridged marshmallows. 

Rinse. Repeat. Rinse. Repeat. 6 hours later I was still boiling what was becoming semi-hard beans draped in colorful bits of tomato and onion-confetti. And the beans. Were still. Crunchy.

Peeps. We cannot have an apocalypse. The beans will not boil. We will not survive. We'll have to eat the puppy plates.

I don't know if the uncookable food storage comes down to really old legumes, or a ridiculous altitude that guarantees our water will boil well below actual cooking temperatures, but know this: you will need a whole lot more than dried pintos and garbanzos and great northerns if you intend to ride out the End of the World come December 2012. You will need a neighbor whose basement is chock full of canned-goods and gourmet freeze-dried MRE's. Plus cookies.

The beans you can use to build your new home. 

Now you know. You're welcome.

About Janiel 433 Articles
I have managed to keep the same husband for nearly three decades, and the same four children for almost that long - although one or two of them say it has been much longer. I have been writing since I learned to hold a pencil, and trying to make people laugh even longer. I hope to do some good in the world before I go the way of it. And if not, I'd better at least get to visit Ireland.


  1. I have never had good luck with dried beans. I hate crunchy soup. We have a couple of bags of soup mix in storage and that’s it. I was relieved to see that the Mayan Calendar is set to re-cycle at the end of 2012. Apparently it’s a 17 year cycle. Or something like that. Anyway, at the end of this year, it starts over at the beginning, just like ours do. Whew.

  2. Ew, wow. Pretty sure I won’t be adding dried beans to my food storage. I got one of those buckets of dried meals from costco instead. Just add water, and voila! Gourmet goup! Yay! 😛 (Yeah, I need to get better about my food storage, too.)

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