If you’ve read More Time at the Table for long –and we’re just about to celebrate our fifth birthday — you’ll know I adore beans and particularly love bean soup. I feel overwhelmingly rich when there’s a ham bone in the refrigerator just waiting for me to throw it in the pot one morning. While I’ve made bean soup for many years, it rarely comes out exactly the same as it did the time before and while I’m not always sure why that is, I’m happy for it. Of course the taste is dependent upon which dried bean you use and there’s the rare occasion I’ve used a few different cans of beans when there was no time for the long indulgent soup pot. Or it might taste differently because of the seasonings or the type or amount of ham. In this case, I pulled out the Easter ham bone (originally a 7-pound ham that now had been nearly, but not quite, picked clean for sandwiches) and looked in the pantry for a bean just a bit different the typical white, navy, black, split pea, black-eyed pea (actually a legume), etc.
Last time I was at Williams-Sonoma, they had, as they often do, a basket of marked down food products. I’m willing to pay their price for several items I can’t get elsewhere and that are worth it. Great vanilla extract, for instance. California olive oil. But there are other items I’ll spring for only when they’ve made it to the mark down rack. This is where I’ll buy really expensive Italian or Spanish olive oil that I wouldn’t pay the original $50.00 for. I’ll pick up unusual cocoa or coffee at half-price. And this is where I bought Snow Cap Beans, which are heirlooms, for $5.99 (15 ounces) instead of $11.95. Continue reading