Sunday, August 12, 2012

'Tis The Bean

Spent yesterday afternoon at the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Illinois and spent far more money than I should have adding to my already-considerable stack of Civil War reference materials (I feel a strong sense of kinship with the cat in yesterday’s post.  I do need them all.  Really).

I can remember listening to the griping of of Marines about our food, admittedly the worst in the Armed Forces and something of which the Corps is perversely proud, and when I was a platoon commander on Okinawa I used to routinely field complaints that my Marines were sneaking into the chow hall at the Air Force base at Kadena, just down the road (they also used to sneak into the Kadena officer's club for the Friday night dances, but that's another story).

But military food has come a long way from the salt horse and hard tack of the 1860’s or even the field rations of both World Wars.  The depressing fact of chow up until the second half of the century was the inevitability of the bean.

Nominally the bean is a food powerhouse, packed with all kinds of good things that, were I a dietician, I could rattle off by heart.  Militarily speaking they are highly portable, particularly in their dried state, not prone to spoilage, and easily prepared as long as the cook sergeant has plenty of water on hand.  Gustatorially (is that a word?) speaking, they are pretty dull unless you have something to spice them up like a chutney or a salsa.

This is something I make a lot for my lunches at work.  I recommend some kind of relish to go with them, though.  Pico de gallo is great with this but Major Grey’s works, too.

Rice Cooker Beans and Rice

¼ cup cooking oil
1 cup raw rice
1 cup jarred salsa, such as Pace
1 ½ cup water
1 can pinto or kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Pour it all into the rice cooker, stir to mix the ingredients up, and turn on the rice cooker.  You can’t get much simpler than that, and another advantage is that the rice cooker doesn’t heat up the kitchen in August.



Thank you! I am going to try that soon!

Anonymous said...

oh, the bean.
scoutmaster and assistant scoutmaster dread the song of the musical fruit in the back of the van of the 11yo males on the way to scout camp, but not nearly as much as the bottles of bug juice on the wall for the whole week.

Sam said...

If you saw a Fifer there, it was my dad! And the bean and salsa and rice is a staple in my house.

Joann Loos said...

One of the Red Cross (and maybe Geneva) rules is that you can't feed your POWs anything your troups don't eat. The Germans lodged a complaint. They couldn't believe our guys ate c-rations.

panavia999 said...

I make things like that all the time in the rice cooker. I make a small pot of beans which put in the fridge and use during the week. One pot spanish rice, or curry rice, or cajun, or lentil and rice, or.... There are so many tasty possibilities if you have onions, garlic and plenty of seasonings to play with.

I also pull the rice cooker liner and carry it to work. Why get another container dirty? I'm thrifty and lazy.

Shay said...

As a geographic bachelor (in the military's quaint phrase), I *lived* on various bean/rice permutations that I could make in the rice cooker. The spousal unit is not quite so enthusiastic about legumes, however.

Shay said...

Joann -- I can believe it. The German Army operated in what you might call reverse logistical mode. They sent the best stuff to the guys at the front rather than letting the rear echelon goldbricks (in Bill Mauldin's words) scarf it up.