Survival Kitchen–Why Should Anybody Care About the History of Beans?

OK, so you didn’t like history in school. Few of us do. Then why in the world would you pick up a history book about—ug!—beans of all things?

Ken Albala cared enough about the subject to write a book called Beans: A History, which is more engaging than you’d expect, according to reviewers. It’s a 2008 Winner of the Jane Grigson Food Book Award.

Beans: A History is said to read like a novel with fascinating details. That ought to make any subject more palatable. (Pun intended.)

There are so many different kinds of beans, and they come from all over the world. Some seed companies specialize in beans. I’ve heard of some people who have large collections of beans for seed saving or for sale.

But beans have been the subject of controversy and misunderstanding. They’ve been seen as food for the poor and working classes. Some kinds of beans have a bad reputation because they cause gas. I remember hearing somewhere that when a person eats beans regularly, the body adjusts, and gas isn’t a constant problem.

With economic conditions as they are, who cares about the past reputation of beans? If they’ve saved people’s lives before, they’ll do it again. Maybe they’ll even save your life. They’re inexpensive, and many are easy to grow in your survival garden.

If you’re curious about what role beans have played in various cultures down through the ages, as well as some recipes, get a copy of Beans: A History today. Click on the book’s title wherever you see it linked in this post, and you’ll be taken to the page where it’s featured. Then place your order there. Discover why more of us would do well to care about the wonders of beans.


Click here for a resource on heirloom beans.

Click here for info on cooking beans that won’t cause gas.


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.