March 7, 2004
Is My Blog Burning? : English Tartine

(Or Why Beans on Toast Are Actually More Difficult Than You Might Think)

I am sure every proud cook out there has had a similar moment at some point. You spend hours planning meals and coming up with new exciting dishes. You anxiously watch your Critics as they plough in, eyes fixed on the TV. And, occasionally, when you ask them what they want for dinner, they answer with something really difficult, like...beans on toast.

My Critic wants beans on toast, he gets beans on toast. (Brain the size of a planet...) The really sad thing is that I got them wrong the first time around. Now THAT'S seriously incompetent. But I was distracted and working on some real food for the Is My Blog Burning? entry and so it goes. The next night I made them again (at his request - when you get an itch for comfort food it stays until you scratch it the right way) and all was well.

Beans on Toast

Beans on Toast for One Brit

1 can Heinz beans (Marks & Spensers are acceptable but not preferred. The US kind of pork and beans are not acceptable, even if they are made by Heinz.)

2 slices of bread (I make them brown bread in the vague hope of rendering it slightly healthy)

butter (forgot we were out of butter the first time around)

a handful of grated sharp cheddar cheese

Heat your beans over a low heat. Do not forget them while you are spreading and chopping for a completely different meal, as they will stick to the bottom of the pan and get mushy and generally look less nice. In the meantime, put your bread in the toaster. Do not burn toast. Butter the toast liberally (apparently this is essential). Spread the hot beans over the toast and top with the cheese. Do not put the dish in the oven in the mistaken idea that the cheese needs to melt more, as I once did in the early days before I was Enlightened: serve immediately.

Critic Full of Beans

Posted by Meg in Sussex at March 7, 2004 3:05 AM | TrackBack Print-friendly version

hahah! i haven't had beans on toast in years! but yes, definitely a brit favourite.

i was introduce to this delicacy back during my early childhood days by my scottish neighbour at the time on the island of borneo.

i didn't take to beans on toast that well but luved the melted grated cheese on toast instead.

Posted by Wena on March 8, 2004 at 12:20 AM

Thanks for the comment! I'm not a huge fan either, but have to admit it is a very good "morning after" dish when you just want something bland and comforting.

Posted by Meg in Paris on March 8, 2004 at 6:21 AM

Interesting! During my first trip to England I was introduced to this dish and thought it quite nice though plain. But from what I see above, I realize it wasn't being done right, the beans were just tossed onto the dry toast and that was it. Sheesh, you'd think the Brits could get their own dish right...! When done to perfection, I didn't know butter was essential nor did I have a clue about the cheese. I am an American and I do understand now why American baked beans are unacceptable...because they are much too sweet (yechh!) and those I tasted with this specialty in England were not sweet at all. I'll have to see if I can track down some Heinz beans, but no guarantees...

Posted by Iforgot on May 25, 2004 at 6:32 AM

this is cool, thanks for your recipe, im using it for a US history project, i dunno if you live in the uk or not, but i live in kansas, and thats cool, i have an eglish friend who LOVES it, so i tried it, and am making it for class!

Posted by Emily on October 11, 2004 at 4:34 PM

I have been wanting to try beans on toast for quite a while...however I can't find the Heinz baked beans anywhere in a store near me (I am in the US)...does anyone know where I can find any?? I would greatly appreciate any help finding them!!!

Posted by Tasha on July 15, 2005 at 11:35 PM

The vegetarian baked beans you find in the U.S. is the closest you can get in most places; some larger stores have U.K. beans in their import sections

Posted by Jackie on October 28, 2005 at 8:51 AM

I actually love frying some onion and garlic and peanuts in the pan before I add the beans. A dash of tabasco... and Bob's your uncle.

Posted by Patricia on February 6, 2006 at 6:15 AM
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