A New Book About Beans

Last week, Husband was driving home and heard a radio show on NPR all about beans. Naturally, he called me on his cell phone to alert me!

The show that he happened to catch was “On Point With Tom Ashbrook”. Mr. Ashbrook’s guest was cookbook author Crescent Dragonwagon (if you want to know how she got that name, you can read about it here). She has a new book out called Bean By Bean: A Cookbook: More than 200 Recipes for Fresh Beans, Dried Beans, Cool Beans, Hot Beans, Savory Beans…Even Sweet Beans!

Bean by Bean By Crescent Dragonwagon

I didn’t hear the show on the radio, but I did download the podcast. You can listen to the show or download the podcast by clicking here. Mr. Ashbrook started with the premise that beans are the food “meant for this moment”; they are good for the planet, good for your wallet and good for you. Mr. Ashbrook and Ms. Dragonwagon had a 45 minute conversation all about beans. It was very interesting! Give it a listen.

Naturally my next step was to try and find her book. My local Barnes and Noble didn’t have it on the shelf but I was able to purchase it online from Amazon for my Kindle. You can also, of course, order an actual printed copy of the book.

Ms. Dragonwagon is a James Beard Award-winning author. I have owned one other cookbook by her, Passionate Vegetarian. So I was already somewhat familiar with her work. Her writing tends to be very exuberant and upbeat. Bean by Bean is no exception.

In Bean by Bean, Ms. Dragonwagon includes recipes for bean appetizers, salads, soups, stews, chili, skillets and even desserts. She has one whole chapter devoted to the pairing of beans and grains, which she refers to as “soul mates”. There is a mountain of information on beans. She seems to really know her stuff.

Her style is very chatty and fun to read. The book has a lot of cute little illustrations. Some of the recipes have long ingredient lists, but most of the ingredients are things that you can easily get a hold of.  Most of the recipes can be prepared either with meat, vegetarian or vegan. She makes those options easy. Many of the recipes show other possible variations. There is a great deal to choose from here.

It’s a big book at 400 pages and it is available in paperback. I use the Kindle addition on my iPad. The publisher has included lots of touch screen options to navigate through the book.

I haven’t cooked anything from the book yet, but I have already bookmarked several recipes that I am anxious to make. I am very excited to have a cookbook completely devoted to the subject of beans. I never get tired of beans!


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