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Baked  Beans

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Baked  Beans

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Baked Beans

Baked beans are by no means an English invention. In fact, if we could grow the bean that goes into those little cans in the UK, our national balance of payments would take a healthy turn for the better. Canned beans began life in the United States, when the cooked haricots were originally canned with molasses. It was of course Henry J Heinz of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, who first added the tomato sauce without which no self-respecting baked bean would now dare to be seen. They arrived here in the early years of the 20th century, and were immediately adopted as our own. It has been said that the sweet, glutinous sauce in which they are canned now flows in the bloodstreams of the English people. The brand leader is still Heinz, although it has many rivals these days.

Baked beans have sustained us through many a period of adversity, particularly of the financial kind, which is why they are so staunchly favoured by students. And even though increasingly exotic recipe suggestions have proliferated in recent times, everybody knows that the first duty of baked beans is to appear on toast.

Photo: Ted Davis


Your comments

That's the English style dish I like.

Zhang Xi

To be honest, I can't imagine my week without baked beans. Whether on plain toast or naan bread, with or without olive oil, herbs or curry spices, on pasta, rice, or even in an omelette - they float my boat. And since the experts are agreed that they can be a basis for a good regular diet, I have not looked for justification! There is even a place called Brean on the coast just south of Bristol that is nicknamed Baked Beans by the locals. :-D

About 40 years ago, when I was working in a reference library in London I was asked for some information on the origins of baked beans. In those days of course (heaven help us no irony here!) we relied on books for our information sources and no satisfactory answer was found. So thankyou for finally resolving my query - maybe the internet is ok sometimes after all...
Rose Arno

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My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry