I’m feeling very smug today. This is not because I’ve created a cake recipe that will have cause for Martha Stewart to pound down my door demanding rights for it (although I am developing the world’s best vegetarian lasagne) but because I have discovered baked beans in the supermarket. Anticlimax! I hear you cry! But, no, for these are not just any old beans- but Heinz ‘est. 1886’ baked beans with tomato sauce. The kind that come in a turquoise tin and make you produce what can only be described as record-breaking gastric outbursts.
As my eyes caught sight of these infamous gems, I momentarily wondered if God was looking down on me- but as I greedily snatched 5 cans from the shelf I decided perhaps not. I paid $1.29 per can- a little steep perhaps but after 3 months of bean–deprivation I thought it was a small price to pay. Perhaps it seems a little peculiar to you that a self-proclaimed ‘cook’ is blubbing over baked beans but this is one ‘convenience’ food that I could never give up. They reign king of the tins.
In retrospect my experiences with beans should have scarred me for life and left me avoiding the canned-goods isle altogether. At boarding school we were fed them at least 4 nights a week- I lived on baked beans on toast for 2 years. At University I had a flatmate who ate them out of the tin cold. Whilst studying drama, my classmates and I were subjected to playing mindless children’s games including the baked bean game where we ran around like fools pretending to be an assortment of beans. I broke wind for the first time in front of my boyfriend having gorged myself on baked beans (note to self and other women/men, consuming beans on a first or any date for that matter has more detrimental consequences than spaghetti). This was followed by 8 hours working on a commercial ‘casting’ baked beans for that hero close-up of a single beautiful bean nestling between the prongs of a fork. I was even asked by the producer at the time “do your parents’ know you do this for a living?” Luckily these were Branston’s baked beans, a far inferior brand and thus why I was able to look past this unfortunately unforgettable affair (and for those interested in the matter, there were by far, more rejected beans than graded beans).
Alas, for the past 3 months I have sampled can after can of American-branded baked beans searching for the soothing flavour of Heinz- I even tried a Heinz variety developed in Canada. They are all just too sweet, containing brown sugar instead of white- and twice as much as English beans. With 14g per serving they may as well be topped with a mint sprig and called dessert! The brown sugar gives then an unappetising brown tinge and comparable in taste to apple pie. Whereas all my English compadres will know that English Heinz baked beans are a lavishly deep orange that aren’t too sweet and are simply delightful when pared with a fluffy jacket potato and a handful of grated cheddar. Now, I’ve discovered the ‘foreign’ foods section though, I will never have to worry about this inconvenience again. Hurrah! Triumph. Long live Heinz est.1886 (made in England, not Canada) baked beans!