B’s IN THE BELLY

New Restaurant: Bread Zeppelin

Many of us know Led Zeppelin but how many of us have heard of Bread Zeppelin? We found this delightful place in Carrollton. Their schtick was serving salad in homemade artisan bread, with an option of choosing a bowl. We opted for the Shanghai and the Plymouth Rock. Overall, we enjoyed both and would return.

Activity: We don’t know Beans about Beans Taste Test

We’ve had many dishes such as chili that include beans in the ingredients but realized that we really couldn’t tell one bean apart from another. Which beans did we really want to eat if left on its own? This is the kind of thing we wonder about, so we set out to do a taste test of our own. We tasted 7 beans:

Pinto (which gets its name from the Spanish words for “painted beans”) – good, versatile, can blend in with anything, a little heavier than some of the others; Barbara wondered if these are what refried beans are made from and as it turns out they are!

Navy (an American term coined because the U.S. has served this bean as a staple to its sailors since the mid-1800s) – more flavorful than the pinto, we got a new appreciation for that bean and would eat it on its own as a side dish.

Great Northern – similar in color but larger than the navy, closest in size to the pinto, pleasant taste similar a bit to a potato.

Cannellini – another white bean but not uniform in size; when tasting a spoonful there appeared to be a daddy bean, mommy bean and baby bean. Not as pleasant a taste as the others, had a grittier taste. We wouldn’t eat it on its own.

Kidney (named after the human kidney due to its shape) – we love this bean in chili but it was not very tasty on its own.

Lima (named after the city in Peru where it was first found) – this bean wasn’t even shelved with the other beans so perhaps it is in a slightly different category. It has a mushier consistency, a little pastier like a black bean, tastes better hot but Barbara didn’t like them growing up and still doesn’t.

Black – we knew in advance we’d like this bean because we’ve had them so often in Mexican restaurants and as dips.

All told, we learned a lot about this small legume including the origin behind the many idioms about beans so this was a worthwhile activity for us!

Learning Center: Bean Idioms

Spill the Beans”: Apparently, in Ancient Greece, the voting process involved candidates leaving their upturned helmets in a line. Voters would then go up to the helmet of the person they wished to vote for and place a bean inside it to indicate their vote. The candidate with the most beans in their helmet at the end was the winner. When the voting process ended, the winning candidate would receive their helmet, containing all their victory bean votes. In front of everyone, the newly elected official would then spill the beans from their helmet before placing it upon their head, revealing the outcome and signifying their acceptance of the new position. And that is why spilling the beans today means to share something that was previously a secret. 

A Hill of Beans”: A hill of beans is a symbol for something of trifling value, as in expressions like “it ain’t worth a hill of beans”. The mundane bean has for at least eight centuries been regarded as the epitome of worthlessness. Part of the strength of the fairy tale of Jack and the Beanstalk is the contrast between the valueless beans Jack was given in exchange for the cow and the riches revealed by the full-grown beanstalk. The expression was first used in 1858 and was referring to the idea that if one bean was worthless, a whole hill of them would be even more so.

“Don’t know beans about (something)” :  Some say the phrase originated in early nineteenth century American mercantile stores that stocked a variety of legume called “blue beans.” The outer skin had a bluish tint, but when it was removed, the interior was white. A popular riddle was “How many blue beans make seven white beans?” If you didn’t know the answer was seven, you didn’t know beans.

“Cool beans”: Growing up most kids know a variation of the rhyme “Beans, beans, good for the heart, the more you eat the more you fart, the more you fart the better you feel, beans, beans for every meal.” That’s right, folks. According to research by Lauren Oyler, “the phrase “cool beans” stems from the phrase “some beans,” which stems from the phrase “full of beans,” which probably stems from horse farts. And that, I think we can all agree, is pretty cool.”

New Restaurant: Bruncheon

On our return from the Highland Park Library (see last post) we decided to try another new B restaurant and found Bruncheon in Richardson. Judging by the amount of people there, it is a very popular restaurant and we discovered why. The menu was varied and extensive and the food delicious. Laura had a brisket skillet and Barbara had a vegetable skillet, both great. But during the course of the meal, we watched as the chicken and waffles went by and a plate of French toast topped by the crispiest, juiciest looking bacon which we had to restrain ourselves from leaping up and grabbing off the lady’s plate. It looks like we’ll be returning.

Activity: Baking Bread

This was the least successful of our Bs in the Belly. We have made many recipes from the Los Angeles Times California Cookbook and they’ve all turned out to be favorites so we were very disappointed when we made their Pineapple-Macadamia Nut Bread. It looked great because it rose high but it was completely tasteless.

New Book: (not a B in the Belly but worth mentioning): Bomb Shelter: Love, Time and Other Explosives

Laura: If you’re a mother (check), a worrier (check) and appreciate humor and excellent writing (check), you’re going to really enjoy this memoir-in-essays book. I was immediately hooked because I felt a bond with Mary Laura Philpott, the author, over two incidents she related rather early on. First, she recalls a childhood memory of creating a dance routine in the ocean while being completely unaware that she was wading through a school of stingrays and that folks were calling to her to get out of the water. My childhood memory is that of thinking I was moving horizontally across the ocean while in fact I was going diagonally deeper in a strong undertow. I saw people on the beach lined up calling and I thought it was for someone else until the lifeguard came toward me. These incidents were so embarrassing to me and the author. The other thing we have in common is she has a turtle (Frank) that goes to their back door and bangs his head until someone comes to feed him while I have a squirrel (Lady Chatterley) that scratches at the back door, then peers in and stands up to beg until we feed her. But aside from the personal connection, I loved how she explores life, love, death and fear and coats it all with insights and humor.

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2 Responses to B’s IN THE BELLY

  1. Rosemary Brown says:

    Wow! What a wonderful blog. Talk about interesting facts – you take the cake or biscuit which ever saying you know. And what a powerful ending paragraph – how powerful and meaningful. I will have to read the book. Take care you two and perhaps Laura, you and I can visit Bruncheon late September. 🥪🥗🍨

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