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Has there ever been a more generous ingredient than the bean? Down-home, yet haute, soul-satisfyingly hearty, valued, versatile deeply delectable, healthful, and inexpensive to boot, theres nothing a bean cant doand nothing that Crescent Dragonwagon cant do with beans. From old friends like chickpeas and pintos to rediscovered heirloom beans like rattlesnake beans and Has there ever been a more generous ingredient than the bean? Down-home, yet haute, soul-satisfyingly hearty, valued, versatile deeply delectable, healthful, and inexpensive to boot, there’s nothing a bean can’t do—and nothing that Crescent Dragonwagon can’t do with beans. From old friends like chickpeas and pintos to rediscovered heirloom beans like rattlesnake beans and teparies, from green beans and fresh shell beans to peanuts, lentils, and peas, Bean by Bean is the definitive cookbook on beans. It’s a 175-plus recipe cornucopia overflowing with information, kitchen wisdom, lore, anecdotes, and a zest for good food and good times. Consider the lentil, to take one example. Discover it first in a delicious slather, Lentil Tapenade. Then in half a dozen soups, including Sahadi’s Lebanese Lentil Soup with Spinach, Kerala-Style Dahl, and Crescent’s Very, Very Best Lentil, Mushroom & Barley Soup. It then turns up in Marinated Lentils De Puy with Greens, Baked Beets, Oranges & Walnuts. Plus there’s Jamaica Jerk-Style Lentil-Vegetable Patties, Ethiopian Lentil Stew, and Lentil-Celeriac Skillet Sauce. Do the same for black beans—from Tex-Mex Frijoles Dip to Feijoada Vegetariana to Maya’s Magic Black Beans with Eggplant & Royal Rice. Or shell beans—Newly Minted Puree of Fresh Favas, Baked Limas with Rosy Sour Cream, Edamame in a Pod. And on and on—from starters and soups to dozens of entrees. Even desserts: Peanut Butter Cup Brownies and Red Bean Ice Cream.


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Has there ever been a more generous ingredient than the bean? Down-home, yet haute, soul-satisfyingly hearty, valued, versatile deeply delectable, healthful, and inexpensive to boot, theres nothing a bean cant doand nothing that Crescent Dragonwagon cant do with beans. From old friends like chickpeas and pintos to rediscovered heirloom beans like rattlesnake beans and Has there ever been a more generous ingredient than the bean? Down-home, yet haute, soul-satisfyingly hearty, valued, versatile deeply delectable, healthful, and inexpensive to boot, there’s nothing a bean can’t do—and nothing that Crescent Dragonwagon can’t do with beans. From old friends like chickpeas and pintos to rediscovered heirloom beans like rattlesnake beans and teparies, from green beans and fresh shell beans to peanuts, lentils, and peas, Bean by Bean is the definitive cookbook on beans. It’s a 175-plus recipe cornucopia overflowing with information, kitchen wisdom, lore, anecdotes, and a zest for good food and good times. Consider the lentil, to take one example. Discover it first in a delicious slather, Lentil Tapenade. Then in half a dozen soups, including Sahadi’s Lebanese Lentil Soup with Spinach, Kerala-Style Dahl, and Crescent’s Very, Very Best Lentil, Mushroom & Barley Soup. It then turns up in Marinated Lentils De Puy with Greens, Baked Beets, Oranges & Walnuts. Plus there’s Jamaica Jerk-Style Lentil-Vegetable Patties, Ethiopian Lentil Stew, and Lentil-Celeriac Skillet Sauce. Do the same for black beans—from Tex-Mex Frijoles Dip to Feijoada Vegetariana to Maya’s Magic Black Beans with Eggplant & Royal Rice. Or shell beans—Newly Minted Puree of Fresh Favas, Baked Limas with Rosy Sour Cream, Edamame in a Pod. And on and on—from starters and soups to dozens of entrees. Even desserts: Peanut Butter Cup Brownies and Red Bean Ice Cream.

30 review for Bean By Bean: A Cookbook

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sybil

    Growing up in the Deep South beans appeared on my family's dinner table nearly every night. Honestly. Black-eyed peas, lima beans, butter beans, field peas, crowder peas, green beans,, lady peas. However, they dropped off my menus as an adult. Then I heard the author interviewed on the radio. She spoke so lovingly about beans! Listening to her brought back childhood memories of all the beans I grew up eating. I had to have the cookbook. Fortunately, her passion for beans shines throughout the Growing up in the Deep South beans appeared on my family's dinner table nearly every night. Honestly. Black-eyed peas, lima beans, butter beans, field peas, crowder peas, green beans,, lady peas. However, they dropped off my menus as an adult. Then I heard the author interviewed on the radio. She spoke so lovingly about beans! Listening to her brought back childhood memories of all the beans I grew up eating. I had to have the cookbook. Fortunately, her passion for beans shines throughout the recipes. I read it cover to cover. Not just a cookbook, it is a compendium of lore, trivia, science, literary quotes, song lyrics -- all about the beloved bean. The author's writing is light and conversational. Each recipe has an introduction -- perhaps some regional or cultural background or a little personal history. After reading the intros, I was ready to try the recipe without actually looking at the ingredients. So far, I've prepared four recipes. All of them successful and delicious. The instructions are precise, descriptive and easy to follow.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    I've never actually read a cookbook before, but what started as skimming this to familiarize myself with the recipes turned into reading it cover-to-cover, and seriously, it was a page-turner. I haven't had the opportunity to try any of the recipes yet, but they look great, and I really appreciate the author's laissez-faire approach to recipe-writing and her respect of the variety of dietary decisions people make (meatist, vegetarian, vegan, etc.). Her writing is personal, friendly, and VERY I've never actually read a cookbook before, but what started as skimming this to familiarize myself with the recipes turned into reading it cover-to-cover, and seriously, it was a page-turner. I haven't had the opportunity to try any of the recipes yet, but they look great, and I really appreciate the author's laissez-faire approach to recipe-writing and her respect of the variety of dietary decisions people make (meatist, vegetarian, vegan, etc.). Her writing is personal, friendly, and VERY enjoyable, and I'm looking forward to cooking my way through this book and especially to enjoying the results.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Lassiter

    I am a Southern gal that grew up on beans. Pinto beans and cornbread were absolute staples in our house. We grew--and ate--all kinds of beans. Some I loved and some I would be happy to never see again. Beans are so healthy and such a great source of protein that I am incorporating more of them into my familys diet after several years of not cooking them very often, so I was so excited to dive into this book. I must say, the cover is very deceiving. It portrays all kinds of dried beans, but the I am a Southern gal that grew up on beans. Pinto beans and cornbread were absolute staples in our house. We grew--and ate--all kinds of beans. Some I loved and some I would be happy to never see again. Beans are so healthy and such a great source of protein that I am incorporating more of them into my family’s diet after several years of not cooking them very often, so I was so excited to dive into this book. I must say, the cover is very deceiving. It portrays all kinds of dried beans, but the bean that seems to get the most attention from the author is actually green beans with nearly 30 recipes that use them. You only get 6 recipes each for Great Northern or Pinto beans, which was a disappointment as I love cooking with both of those and was hoping for recipes for new dishes. I cannot wait to make several of the recipes including "All-Day Baked Beans" and "Red Bean Stew", but there really isn’t a huge amount of recipes I will use. Some of the recipes have a crazy amount of ingredients, or odd combinations that do not sound appetizing to me. Many recipes have ingredients that you will only be able to find online or in a large city or someplace like Whole Foods, so that could be a definite issue for some people. I was disappointed that, though she included two different recipes for cornbread, both contained sugar. I don't need a recipe for cornbread as I've been making it from scratch since I was 12, but not everyone knows how to make it, and not everyone likes sweet cornbread. I didn’t realize this was primarily a vegetarian based cookbook, so I wasn’t expecting quite so much tofu, either. That really cuts down on the number of recipes I’ll cook as we don’t eat tofu. There is a “Bean Basics” section in the front of the book, and a very nice glossary “Basic Beanery” covering all the different types of beans and their origin & characteristics, soaking & cooking, availability, substitutes and usage which is nice. Each chapter begins with a little history of that type of cooking. Various notes and tips are scattered throughout the book, some of which try to convince you to switch to non-meat products such as tofu, seitan, etc. but manages to walk a fine line of not seeming judgmental to those of us who like and eat meat. I really appreciated that. This book may not be for everyone, but I think many people could find recipes in this book they would thoroughly enjoy. I received a copy of this book from Workman Publishing for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Being, for the most part, a very-low-fat vegan, beans have been part of my pantry and kitchen for years. I havent met a bean I didnt like (excepting fava and lupini), and will gladly spend summer afternoons tending, harvesting and eating the fresh Romano and string beans growing in the garden. However, I appreciate that standard bean recipes can become a bit boring and tedious to make and eat there is only so much minestrone, dhal and chili one can have before dinner becomes beans again?. Enter Being, for the most part, a very-low-fat vegan, beans have been part of my pantry and kitchen for years. I haven’t met a bean I didn’t like (excepting fava and lupini), and will gladly spend summer afternoons tending, harvesting and eating the fresh Romano and string beans growing in the garden. However, I appreciate that standard bean recipes can become a bit “boring” and tedious to make and eat – there is only so much minestrone, dhal and chili one can have before dinner becomes “beans again?”. Enter vegetarian “comfort cook” and author Crescent Dragonwagon and her latest book Bean By Bean. This book provides readers of all tastes and ability levels with over 175 recipes, most of which featuring the humble legume in pride of place. The book starts off with a lengthy, intensive essay of sorts covering the basics of beans, even including nutrition and history notes which are more generally interesting than relevant to the cookery. What most readers (especially those new to beans as a staple food) will appreciate is the section titled Unmasking the Mischief of the Musical Fruit (p. 6). Not only does Dragonwagon include “pharmaceutical” remedies such as Beano (though it should be noted that the specific variety she suggests is no longer produced), but includes a list of factors that affect the legume’s digestibility and potential to cause gaseous side effects. The author also provides some helpful herbs and spices that can be added to cooking beans to minimize discomfort – including summer savory (great in Bean & Barley Salad (p. 141)) and cumin (prevalent in chili powder and curries like Dahl (p. 81)). Finally, Bean by Bean’s introduction offers basic cooking instructions and tips for every type of bean available – green (like wax beans), shell beans (which the author terms “semi-mature”) and the most common form – dried. Soaking, “de-gassifying” and a discussion on using canned and home cooked frozen beans for speed and ease are also included and definitely worth a read if you are a novice to this food. For specifics as to the treatment, substitutes and common usage of almost any bean or lentil you could want to try, the Appendix (p. 344) provides a helpful chart that is easy to read and follow. One of the enjoyable elements of Bean By Bean is the peppering of quotations and trivia throughout the pages. While Dragonwagon’s colloquial, conversational style of writing and humour can be a bit wearing at times (especially in large quantities like this 370-page tome), the quotations are from a variety of sources, such as my personal favourite from the Yoruba people of western Africa: "Mofere ipa eiye na!" / "Aki ofere li obbe" "I almost killed the bird!" / "But no one can eat 'almost' in a stew" (p. 71) I also liked the fact that many recipes offer variations on the theme. Changing out one or two ingredients or spices transforms the standard All-Day Baked Beans (p.216) into a global kaleidoscope of flavour (from Vermont to England and even the Caribbean). This book includes recipes for vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and meat eating (or as Dragonwagon writes, “meatist”) diets, and while a recipe may contain meat, dairy or gluten verbatim the options to modify are almost always given. Not all the recipes in Bean by Bean include the legume itself. Most of the chapters offer bean-free side dishes, condiments and breads designed as a complement to the main ingredient. Dragonwagon previously wrote a book comprised of nothing but cornbread, and three cornbread recipes do find themselves in this book as well as biscuits and steamed brown bread. Vegetable sides like Roasty-Toasty Carrots & Onions (p.37) and sweet-savoury items like Mixed Fruit Salsa (p. 181) break up the carb-heavy dishes and are very tasty on their own as well. The book’s major strength is it’s ability to take a potentially boring ingredient and showcase it in every form imaginable. Far from the standard soup and chili you’d expect to find in a book like this, Dragonwagon also includes what may be the most comprehensive bean-centric dessert chapter in any published work to date. In fact, it is in this section that my favourite recipe falls – the cheekily named “Don’t Hurt Yourself” Bean Pie (p. 327). This 1897 recipe is very similar in flavour and texture to a pumpkin pie, but features navy beans as the main filling agent. Everyone I served it to enjoyed it – including children (though I didn’t tell them what was in it!). On the savoury side of the plate, I adored the simple flavours of Oven-Roasted Green Beans (p. 229), especially the variation with tomatoes and garlic. The CD’s Chili Mole (p.170) would be a perfect comfort food mid February, as would the Four-Star From-the-Cupboard Red Bean Stew (p.188). I was looking forward to trying Dragonwagon’s version of Vegetarian Cassoulet (p.234), but was turned off by the heavy use of meat analogues in place of other natural flavouring agents. It is worth noting that Dragonwagon is not shy with her use of these items, especially flavoured soy sausages and tempeh. Also, for those readers who are motivated more by photos than words, bear in mind that this book contains no photography whatsoever. With a host of health, economic and ecological benefits, the versatile bean is a food that should be on our plates more often than not. Luckily, authors like Crescent Dragonwagon have provided us with tomes of ideas and recipes to play with at home. With Bean By Bean, it’s possible to travel the world through your tastebuds, and save a few pennies for a plane ticket too.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dianna

    Love this book. It's full of interesting information about beans, fabulous recipes, and anecdotes about how the author came by said recipes. I'm fast becoming a fan of Crescent Dragonwagon's cookbooks; I love her conversational writing. They're as much fun to read as they are to cook from! I also appreciated the labeling for vegan/vegetarian/meatist recipes, and the myriad variations for many of the recipes. With a little alteration here and there, there are lots of options for our oil-free vegan Love this book. It's full of interesting information about beans, fabulous recipes, and anecdotes about how the author came by said recipes. I'm fast becoming a fan of Crescent Dragonwagon's cookbooks; I love her conversational writing. They're as much fun to read as they are to cook from! I also appreciated the labeling for vegan/vegetarian/meatist recipes, and the myriad variations for many of the recipes. With a little alteration here and there, there are lots of options for our oil-free vegan household in this book. The two recipes we've tried so far have been amazing (seriously, don't miss the Cuban black bean soup!). I can't wait to cook the rest of the way through this book!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Maybe the only cookbook I'd call "amazing." The recipes work well and the historical and cultural notes are fun. There are recipes from all over the world - and I appreciate the authenticity of the Southern ones from an author with Southern roots. She's a non-judgmental vegetarian, offering versions with and without ham and bacon for many recipes. Don't miss the African Caribbean peanut soup.

  7. 5 out of 5

    James

    Covers all of the bean cooking methods, including some to reduce the 'magical' substance of beans. I've made some of the recipes from other sources, these versions look good and there are many interesting recipes. Reading the recipe notes and variations I feel the author has cooked these many times so anything you cook out of this book should be decent. Some recipes have meat, but meatless options are offered in many cases. Some interesting bread and grain pairings include as well as the bean Covers all of the bean cooking methods, including some to reduce the 'magical' substance of beans. I've made some of the recipes from other sources, these versions look good and there are many interesting recipes. Reading the recipe notes and variations I feel the author has cooked these many times so anything you cook out of this book should be decent. Some recipes have meat, but meatless options are offered in many cases. Some interesting bread and grain pairings include as well as the bean recipes. Much better than Heirloom Beans: Recipes from Rancho Gordo on this topic, though no pretty pictures. Also no nutritional information with the recipes and old school measurements. I did make the chile mole recipe, 30+ ingredients, and it was tasty. The raisins did thicken up the soup part and the combinations of spices work well. I modified the recipe by cutting back on the beans, my pressure cooker will only handle about 2 cups worth, which is still 5-6 very generous meals. Luckily the leftovers are tasty. You probably need a Mexican or very extensive produce market to get all the chile types though. My Standard Cookbook Rant

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    If you are a bean aficionado, you should add this book to your cookbook shelf. If you are stumped on how to add more beans to your meal rotation, check this book out from the library and try some recipes. The book is well written, with clear instructions. Many of the recipes have several ingredients, so if long prep lists make you hyperventilate, just start slow. :)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

    If there is anybody who loves beans more than Crescent Dragonwagon, then I would kind of like to see what THEIR bean cookbook would look like. This is exhaustive, reads very narratively (in a good way), and is full of great ideas. Excited to try a lot of these recipes!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    Terrific! Full of anecdotes and personal experiences that accompany recipes from all over.Fun to read while also educational. Dragonwagon has developed many of these recipes, and they are delightful. I particularly love the Rose of Persia cake, which is made with chickpea flour.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Briefly (and this is probably due a revisitation and elaboration later on), I adore this book, and it has made me very enthusiastic about beans. It does not have pictures of the dishes, but I didn't find this a deterrent. I do think how well you like this cookbook will depend on your personal tastes, although it's entertaining to read. 80-90% of the recipes intrigue me personally, but, for instance, Ms. Dragonwagon is clearly far fonder of olives than I. I've made a dozen or so of the recipes Briefly (and this is probably due a revisitation and elaboration later on), I adore this book, and it has made me very enthusiastic about beans. It does not have pictures of the dishes, but I didn't find this a deterrent. I do think how well you like this cookbook will depend on your personal tastes, although it's entertaining to read. 80-90% of the recipes intrigue me personally, but, for instance, Ms. Dragonwagon is clearly far fonder of olives than I. I've made a dozen or so of the recipes thus far(dahl, panch dahl, navy bean pie, fava bean soup alla romana, three sisters salad, a variation on the old-fashioned Baked Beans, Boston Brown Bread, one of the tofu marinades, beans greens and pasta, neo-traditional falafels, "Greek-style" green beans, tanzanian black-eyed pea and coconut soup w/ bananas) and liked pretty much all of them, except maybe the brown bread. The beans, greens, and pasta, in some variations moreso than others (I like kale and beans and pasta; a polenta/black-eyed pea/mustard greens variation didn't go over as well) and the Greek style green-beans (although I can hardly get enough tomato...plus I like to add a potato that I've pre-cooked with the beans) are indeed worthy of the praise heaped on them. As others have noted, there are perhaps a lot of recipes that include green beans, but as I am not terribly fond of tofu thus far (and rarely have it on hand), I sometimes get a bit disappointed when a recipe includes only tofu and no other forms of beans. There are also several recipes for chickpea flour/besan, and two primary recipes which don't exactly include legumes. (one for bean shaped Italian cookies, and one for king cake--to which is added a single bean so that the person who gets that slice receives especially good luck or something.) The other non-bean recipes are several complementary breads and some condiments closely associated with recipes. There's one recipe which you'd think didn't have beans in it if you weren't well versed in traditional Japanese soy products. (peanut-butter brownie points if you figure out which I'm talking about) She does include peanuts in the legumes the book covers, although except in the dessert chapter they don't make a lot of appearances without more typical beans being included. N.B. One error I've noticed in both my and the library's copy is that numerous references to the Fauxjoada (which I have not made) refer to various incorrect page numbers. It is actually on page 196.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    I have seen other reviews of this book, and my curiosity was peaked. My family doesn't eat lot of beans, but I would like to incorporate more of them into our diet. (I like black beans, refried beans, kidney beans, white beans myself.) This is a comprehensive book about beans. The author starts with Bean Basics, discussing the many variety of beans and the basic cooking methods for each type: what to look for in a good green bean, shell beans and how to cook them, soaking beans- whatever you need I have seen other reviews of this book, and my curiosity was peaked. My family doesn't eat lot of beans, but I would like to incorporate more of them into our diet. (I like black beans, refried beans, kidney beans, white beans myself.) This is a comprehensive book about beans. The author starts with Bean Basics, discussing the many variety of beans and the basic cooking methods for each type: what to look for in a good green bean, shell beans and how to cook them, soaking beans- whatever you need to know about beans is covered here, no more need to fear them. The ten chapters cover such topics like Hummus & Starters, with such recipes as Gotcha-Hotcha Sweet-Smoky Cocktail Peanuts, Hillbilly Hummus (made with peanut butter!) and Greektown Dip from Chicago's Greektown. Soulful Simmer Soups is a great chapter that covers the world of beans literally. There are Middle Eastern Bean Soups (Spicy Syrian-Style Lentil Soup), African Bean Soups (Nigerian Seed-Thickened Beef & Shrimp Soup Stew), Asian Bean Soups (Thai Hot & Sour Soups), Indian Bean Soups (Sambar), European (Hungarian Green Bean Soup), and the Americas (Day after Thanksgiving Turkey, Wild Rice & Rattlesnake Bean Soup). Of course there are many chili recipes, curry recipes and a chapter on skillets and stir fries that contains an interesting vegetable hash recipe I want to try.The last chapter has desserts, with Julie's Peanut Butter Cup Brownies that looks good and I never would have thought I'd find in a bean cookbook! I like that each recipe has symbols next to it that states whether it is compatible for vegans, vegetarians, gluten-free diets or has meat in it. That makes it easy for anyone with dietary restrictions or preferences to quickly see if the recipe is for them. The only negative I have is that there are no photos of recipes in the book, but it is a substantial book, and I guess that photos would add to the heft of the book. If you like beans or would like to add more beans to your diet, this is the cookbook to pick up. I can't imagine that there is any information about beans that I would like to know that is not in this comprehensive, 175-recipe book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    D.A. Blankinship

    I am a foodie; preparing delicious food is one of the most satisfying experiences anyone can enjoy. This book is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning more about beans and their vital role in nutritious eating. I switched to a plant-based food regime in December 2011 (a health decision), and while I have found many good resources on getting interesting and good tasting food as a vegetarian, this book is one of the best, and the recipes are outstanding. Perhaps the most I am a foodie; preparing delicious food is one of the most satisfying experiences anyone can enjoy. This book is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning more about beans and their vital role in nutritious eating. I switched to a plant-based food regime in December 2011 (a health decision), and while I have found many good resources on getting interesting and good tasting food as a vegetarian, this book is one of the best, and the recipes are outstanding. Perhaps the most interesting discovery about plant-based eating is that the marvelous variety of tastes in any meal are from the plants, spices, and herbs used in the recipe (rather than the meat). For example, Ms Dragonwagon has a recipe for "Chopped Liver," using green beans, lentils, and toasted walnuts. It is amazing! Her chilies are great, her explanations are clear and easy to follow and she adds caveats where appropriate. If you are a foodie, this book should be in your kitchen.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    Bean by Bean is the first cookbook that Ive actually read through. I stayed up with this one, couldnt put it down. Perhaps it was Dragonwagons heart-warming voice and the lore she allows to simmer with each recipe. I learned how to grow beans, soak beans (properly), boil beans (properly), and eat beans in just about every way. I even found myself cooking beans way past midnight a few nights, experimenting with a recipe or technique. Now Im a bean-woman. I buy em up bulk and cook something beany Bean by Bean is the first cookbook that I’ve actually read through. I stayed up with this one, couldn’t put it down. Perhaps it was Dragonwagon’s heart-warming voice and the lore she allows to simmer with each recipe. I learned how to grow beans, soak beans (properly), boil beans (properly), and eat beans in just about every way. I even found myself cooking beans way past midnight a few nights, “experimenting” with a recipe or technique. Now I’m a bean-woman. I buy ’em up bulk and cook something beany each and every week. We’ve gone all in–Indian dishes like mjeddrah, black-eyed peas and greens, baked beans, and my go-to for LD’s meals at work: classic red beans and rice. And I can’t tell you how excited I am to make chili and cornbread this fall, sans the cans! There’s something soul-satisfying about a pot of beans. Full review here: http://wp.me/p2C5Cy-116

  15. 5 out of 5

    Beret Brenckman

    What's with NO PICTURES. Admittedly, pictures of beans aren't exactly amazing fodder but it's a COOKBOOK! Preparing for the zombie apocalypse my family has been changing our eating habits to include more beans and less meat. I was expecting a bit more. I guess even James Beard award winners have a hard time finding exciting things (description on back cover notwithstanding) to do with beans. I liked the "Beginners Beanery" as before I married my husband I'd only had canned green beans, Bush's What's with NO PICTURES. Admittedly, pictures of beans aren't exactly amazing fodder but it's a COOKBOOK! Preparing for the zombie apocalypse my family has been changing our eating habits to include more beans and less meat. I was expecting a bit more. I guess even James Beard award winners have a hard time finding exciting things (description on back cover notwithstanding) to do with beans. I liked the "Beginners Beanery" as before I married my husband I'd only had canned green beans, Bush's baked beans and kidney beans. Now that I've tried others there were a few recipes that I'll probably try. Think three. Sections: Bean Basics Hummus, Where the Heart Is Soulful Simmer Cool Beans Chili Weather Superior Stews, Companionable Curries Bountiful Bean Bakes, Comforting Caseroles Home on the Range Beans and Grains Sweet Beans

  16. 4 out of 5

    The Babadook

    Like most reviewers, this book appealed to me because Im a Southerner. Beans tend to be available in every (or, at least, every other) meal. I make a mean pot of bean soup and soup beans and cornbread, etc. Ive been slowly cutting off meat and since beans are so loaded with various proteins - this renewed interest. This was actually a super informative, fun and interactive cookbook. Not only does she provide recipes but she gives histories, lore, folklore, games, quotes, everything. Ill admit to Like most reviewers, this book appealed to me because I’m a Southerner. Beans tend to be available in every (or, at least, every other) meal. I make a mean pot of bean soup and soup beans and cornbread, etc. I’ve been slowly cutting off meat and since beans are so loaded with various proteins - this renewed interest. This was actually a super informative, fun and interactive cookbook. Not only does she provide recipes but she gives histories, lore, folklore, games, quotes, everything. I’ll admit to skipping over some beans but overall I really enjoyed learning more about each species of bean! I've committed to trying several more of the recipes as the ones I've already tried have been so very easy, affordable and more importantly, fabulous!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Trying to incorporate more beans in my diet, so I borrowed this from my library. I appreciate the many many recipes here, in vegetarian and "meatist" options. Liked the diversity of the recipes as well... but there are absolutely no pictures of the food in this cookbook. Also, I think the author has an obsession with fresh green beans, as there are 29 (yes 29, I counted in the index) recipes with green beans. For a cookbook boasting over 176 recipes, 29 green bean recipes seems a tad overkill. Trying to incorporate more beans in my diet, so I borrowed this from my library. I appreciate the many many recipes here, in vegetarian and "meatist" options. Liked the diversity of the recipes as well... but there are absolutely no pictures of the food in this cookbook. Also, I think the author has an obsession with fresh green beans, as there are 29 (yes 29, I counted in the index) recipes with green beans. For a cookbook boasting over 176 recipes, 29 green bean recipes seems a tad overkill. But the dahl recipes looked promising, as did the other lentil recipes. My mouth watered while reading the Lumberjack Soup recipe. Glad this was borrowed, not bought.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    If you enjoy reading cookbooks, this one is a great read. Filled with bean history, amusing anecdotes, and clever turns of phrase, this book is an almost poetic ode to the lowly, but remarkable bean. And more importantly perhaps, the recipes themselves look interesting and very doable for the most part. Having made a couple of the recipes already- the "Ragout of shiitake mushrooms, butter beans, & Southern greens" was scrumptious- I look forward to enjoying many more of them in future.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dharma

    Borrowed from the library, this has gone on my Amazon wish list. There a number of dishes I would make and could become standards. The layout of recipes is a little bothersome but I can't put my finger on way. I think I would like the table of contents to have clearer sub sections or a list of the recipes, or something.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Trace

    Update: There were some delish sounding recipes in this cookbook... and some that were a bit too 'frou-frou' for me... this book is due back at the library... but I hope to request it again so that i can taste test some recipes... I'm looking for more yummy recipes to use with my stockpile of dried beans... this book ought to have a few...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Well, we might not MAKE many of these, since I'm the only one in my family who likes beans. But Dragonwagon's cookbooks are as fun to read as is saying her name. :-) This was a delight from start to finish. I might try to sneak a FEW recipes in. The only flaw--NO NUTRITIONAL INFO. Sigh. But just plain fun to read-the recipes are a bonus.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Susie

    This cookbook sounded very promising. Beans are filling and economical and, when done right, are pretty delicious. Some of the recipes looked really good, but a lot were more obvious standbys (a whole chapter on chilis). Still, a decent cookbook.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Meh. You want a bean book, pick up Rancho Gordo's cookbook "Heirloom Beans". There were a handful of unique recipes in here (out of the touted 200+), but mostly quite underwhelming. And no pictures at all. The cover art is fantastic, but quite misleading re: the look of the contents.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Donna Jean

    This book was given to me as a newlywed along with a large carton of canned beans with all the labels removed. It has the best chili recipe I've ever tasted. I know more than I ever wanted to and it's all about beans.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sundry

    Remember, a 3 means I liked it. I didn't end up using any of the specific recipes, but Dragonwagon's approach to beans inspired me to include more of them in my diet. Making my own pinto beans has been a revelation and I look forward to trying more varieties in the future.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I love a good cookbook & really needed recipes for all the dried beans from my CSA. However, I hate when there are no pictures (NONE).

  27. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Loved this book ... so many great ideas and great recipes. AND the best last name ever of an authour! :-)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Monica Monsma

    This cookbook is filled with great recipes and anecdotes. I got it from the library but am going to buy a copy for myself.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nan

    Great book covering history of, uses for, types of beans. I plan on making about 20 of the recipes.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sherri

    Pretty good, but has no pictures which I always want to entice me to make the recipe.

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