THE CONSTANT COMPARISON: We eaters often call beans "meaty" -- this is true, no? -- but rarely is meat called "beany." It seems like an unfair one-way street in the culinary world, that beans, which have been a staple of human diets for, oh, a millenia or two, should only occasionally be described as tasting like, well, themselves. Because beans are indeed "beany" more than "meaty," and they're individually beantastic, too. Meaning a lima bean and a pinto bean display their own characteristics, textures, mouth-feel, and flavor profiles. That's why we make three-bean salad: There are notable differences among the trio of main ingredients. Okay, beans, we've loved on you plenty, and removed your "meaty" mantel. Now get ready for more spotlight-type love at The Battle of the Beans, which will take place at the San Dieguito Heritage Museum in Encinitas on Saturday, Sept. 28.
TO BE FAIR...the lima bean is the star legume of the day. The Battle of the Beans is part of the 5th Annual Lima Bean Faire, a yearly food party which pays filling homage to a crop that has long ties to the regions. But The Battle of the Beans is open all dry legumes of a beany nature, so home cooks can venture beyond the lima and into black bean and red bean and navy bean territory. Don't want to cook? Pay fifteen bucks and receive unlimited tastings of the dishes in competition. Yep, you'll be filled right up -- that's the nature of the bean -- but, more than that, you'll be enjoying some culinary heritage of the area. With the farm-to-table movement growing ever stronger, isn't it time to connect with historic regional foodstuffs? Beans, you're a legume-lovely California tradition. See you in Encinitas (we'll be the one with the big, big spoon).