After my kids left the nest, I went from cooking every night for four people to cooking every night for just my husband and myself. And when I say cooking every night, I actually mean, eating out twice a week, ordering in three times a week, and cooking twice. Actually, I’d cook only once, because the second time we’d have leftovers.
But then we all got quarantined and suddenly I was making three meals a day every day for the two of us for what felt like a year. My husband of course, didn’t see anything wrong with this, while I felt like I’d become a short-order cook.
So, when my husband asked me a simple question for the ninety-fifth hundredth time, I kind of lost my mind.
“Hey honey, what’s for dinner?” he said.
“Aauugghh!” I yelled and ran into the bathroom. I needed to be alone with my thoughts. There weren’t many. It was mostly that I didn’t want to make dinner again.
The problem wasn’t so much that I had to cook. The problem was what I had to cook with. While other people had bought rolls and rolls of toilet paper for the quarantine, I had stocked up on beans. Apparently, for no reason whatsoever, I was convinced that a pandemic would lead to a shortage of beans, so I panicked and bought a dozen or so cans. But in my bean-induced confusion, I hit the wrong button and instead of ordering a few cans, I ordered a case, and when it arrived, I was the proud owner of 50 cans of beans.
Beside having nowhere to store 50 cans of beans, I had another problem. When I was ordering my beans, I failed to take into account the fact that my family has not historically done too well with beans, and there existed the very real possibility that if I served too many meals made of beans, we would probably, in no uncertain terms, blow up.
This was not something I was guessing at. This was a known fact. Having made chili before, I knew what effects the beans had on my family, and let’s just say that there isn’t enough Febreeze in the world to overcome what my family let loose. There was a time, once, where I was pretty sure we were to blame for a massive hole in the Earth’s ozone that had formed after we had dinner on Chili night.
Then, that weekend, we took our leftovers with us when we went skiing. The next day, I swear we all skied 50% faster because of our “tailwind.”
The kids, naturally, found all this hilarious. My husband and I … not so much. At some point, I tried giving everyone some of those natural digestive enzymes they sell in the store for just such a problem. It was clear they didn’t help when the gas company showed up at our door after the neighbors reported smelling something noxious coming from our house.
Knowing that the beans posed a serious threat to our comfort, and quite possibly my marriage, I needed to find a way to cook them so neither of us would have a problem. I scoured the internet and discovered that soaking and rinsing the beans prior to cooking, even canned beans, would help a lot.
So, one night I tested the theory and made a batch of Black Bean Sloppy Joes. The rinsing seemed to do the trick for me and I felt no gaseous side effects after dinner. But as we sat on the couch later, I suddenly smelled something so bad it singed my nose hairs.
“Was that you?” I asked my husband as I smothered my face with a pillow.
“No,” he said, pulling his shirt up over his nose. “You?”
I shook my head. We both looked down at the dog asleep on the floor.
“Hmmm,” I said. “Guess I won’t be putting any more beans in his food.”
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