In Praise of Party Beans

·2 min read
Photo:  Marie C Fields (Shutterstock)
Photo: Marie C Fields (Shutterstock)

By now, the entire Takeout staff has heard my Party Beans story. The short version: a few years ago, I arrived at a house party with a huge cauldron full of gigantes plaki, a Greek dish featuring XL white beans and lots of garlic, onion, and tomatoes. I had convinced myself that the party was a chill potluck; it was, in fact, a rager. As my friends got loose on Hamm’s, my beans sat untouched on a sticky table packed with beer, playing cards, and half-eaten slices of pizza. I arrived at the party with a full pot of beans; I left the party with a full pot of beans. But here’s the thing: I still believe that every party needs a pot of beans.

Beans are versatile

Looking for a cheap way to feed a boozed-up crowd? My friend, the answer is beans. If you want to go the gigantes plaki route, you can get a very fancy one-pound bag of gigantes beans for less than $7 online. That’s pretty expensive for beans, but it’s still cheaper than an extra-large hand-tossed cheese pizza from Domino’s, which runs about $15 in my neighborhood.

Read more

If you’re really looking to save, you can score heaps of dried black or pinto beans for under five bucks at any grocery store. Just soak ’em, whip up a pot of baked beans or borracho beans or whatever kind of bean strikes your fancy, and watch your friends’ eyes light up.

Depending on how you prep them, beans are a crowd-pleaser regardless of your guests’ dietary restrictions. They’re generally vegan-friendly, gluten-free, and super high in protein for your buff friends. Check, check, and check.

Beans are delicious

When I’m right, I’m right. When I’ve been imbibing, my body wants tasty carbs—and beans have never let me down.

Beans are a great way to use up Solo cups

An unorthodox suggestion? Perhaps. A genius solution to reduce dirty dishes and keep your guests happy? Absolutely. Throw a ladle in the bean pot, place a stack of Solo cups nearby, and let your sloshed guests do the rest.

Eating beans out of a Solo cup is also high comedy: Just walk up to a stranger, ask, “Hey, is there something in my beer?” and show them the cup full of beans. Priceless party humor!

For these reasons and more, I have a special place in my heart for party beans. Worst-case scenario, they’re a conversation starter. Even they sit uneaten, they’re bound to spark a spirited discussion about the best kind of bean.