HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

English beans on toast?

I like to read British mysteries. Strangely, the food most often mentioned
in this genre is "beans on toast", evidently an everyday item used for
breakfast lunch or dinner (at least according to the authors).

Being a lover of (Boston type) baked beans, I tried some on wheat toast.
Didn't seem to be different enough to make it worthwhile.

Am I missing something? Did I use the right kind of beans or bread?
Could some chowhound Brits fill in the blanks here?

Don Shirer
Westbrook, CT.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. That's all it is -- baked beans on toast. English food tends to be hearty, and somewhat bland IMO.

    38 Replies
    1. re: boogiebaby

      They started eating this during the war, as a cheap form of protein. And never stopped. (Groan)

      And why do they still make faucets with separate hot & cold water taps? Makes no sense to me.

      1. re: pdxgastro

        "why do they still make faucets with separate hot & cold water taps?"

        Simply so we can irritate foreigners

        1. re: pdxgastro

          Old sinks still have the separate taps (faucets) so replacements are needed would be one reason.

          What is your problem with baked beans? Great with an egg for a protein rich and economical meal.

          1. re: pdxgastro

            Is this an invitation for me to list more? :o) Does a country of people REALLY think wiping dishes gets all the dish soap off? Of course, nobody's died from it.

            1. re: pdxgastro

              I'm sorry, you say an entire nation only wipes dishes to get the dish soap off? Can you clarify just where you got this amazing insight from on the washing habits of 62million people?

              1. re: pj26

                Ha, ha, great reply. I rinse all my hand washed dishes in hot water. It only takes one sip from a cup with the taste of detergent to make sure it doesn't happen again. I always pester anyone helping me to do the same.

                1. re: cathodetube

                  What's this talk about detergent? I give my dishes a wipe with rag dipped in petrol, and back in cupboard they go. Clean as a whistle. No pesky soap residue to deal with.

                    1. re: foreverhungry

                      Just don't light up while doing the dishes....lol

                    1. re: pj26

                      Nope. Never rinsed anything after washing it. Goes straight from sink to draining board.

                      Never occured to me that anyone would think there was anything odd about it until reading this thread. Certainly won't be altering my practice of several decades of washing.

                      I also never pre-rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher - I recall a thread from a couple of years back where I was in a minority there as well. I suepct it;s just that Americans tend to be more hygienic that we Britons. In fatc, I'm surprised that with our poor crockery hygiene practices that we havnt all died out years ago.

                      1. re: Harters

                        Hear, hear. There is such a thing as being too clean.

                        1. re: Harters

                          You'd have LOVED my ex -- there were a few soap bubbles on the *bottom* of a skillet in the sink...he proceeded to throw a hissy fit, accusing me of causing a case of diarrhea before it happened. (It never did happen, by the way).

                          Yeah, there's a lot of reasons why EX is the key part of that sentence.

                          1. re: Harters

                            Actually, American dishwashers require pre washing because they don't work as well as British & European ones.

                            I like a thin slice of brown bread toasted and buttered. The I fry one egg in a non stick frying pan & transfer it to the plate. The heat of the fried egg warms the butter on the toast again. Add butter to your frying pan and half a can of Heinz baked beans. Warm them up and ladle them onto the eggs on toast. Salt and peper as desired

                            1. re: Kalivs

                              Not true -- my dishwashers in the US and Europe clean about equally.

                              I do tend to rinse, simply because we don't manage to fill the dishwasher every day, and things tend to pong a bit by the second day.

                              1. re: Kalivs

                                I disagree . My American dishwasher requires no pre wash and will clean and dry a full load of dishes (pots and pans included without rinsing first) in no time. 40 minutes for a regular wash and about an hour for heavy duty. Now I can add a pre wash or sanitize to the cycle if I like and that can take anywhere from 90 minutes to an hour.

                                1. re: Kalivs

                                  Kal-
                                  ok great! I' starving now....thanks :)

                                2. re: Harters

                                  I guess all you people who don't rinse your dishes after washing like the taste of detergent in your food. The very thought of this makes me wretch.

                                  1. re: DANelson

                                    It's how it's done in the UK for the most part -- I'm pretty sure that with a population of 60-some million people in the US, if it was an issue, they would all rinse their dishes.

                                    They don't, so it isn't.

                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      As you know, sunshine, we Brits care nothing for the taste of fine food and our diet is appalling. The taste of detergent is a considerable improvement on the taste of most foods we eat.

                                      Beans, toast, Finish. Yummy.

                                      I prefer the flavour of Finish tablets, rather than the loose stuff. Just seems a tad more refined.

                                      1. re: Harters

                                        What about a nice glop of original Fairy liquid?

                                        1. re: cathodetube

                                          I've heard that Gordon Ramsay is offering an amuse-bouche of a Finish tablet garnished with Fairy liquid.

                                          (and that was supposed to be 60-some million people in the *UK*....)

                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                            Isn't Fairy Liquid some type of dish soap, too? Lmao. What will Gordon Ramsey come up with next?

                                            1. re: DANelson

                                              yes, Fairy is the brand name of one of the leading dishwashing liquids in the UK.

                                              Finish is a dishwasher tablet.

                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                I know about Finish dishwasher tablets. We have them, too. They aren't as popular as Cascade dishwasher detergent, however. I could just imagine Gordon Ramsey swooshing that over a blue Finish dishwasher tablet, dramatically.

                                                1. re: DANelson

                                                  Yes, those have 100% of your daily requirements for surfactants, all in one easy-to-swallow tablet.

                                          2. re: cathodetube

                                            Yes, I've heard that there are Michelin starrred chefs in Britain who are serving Fairy, presented in that fashionable swoosh across the plate.

                                            1. re: Harters

                                              the blue and pink make a nice contrast to the gastrique.

                                      2. re: DANelson

                                        .....if I'm hand washing&then set to dry on the counter receptacle, I thoroughly rinse with hot water. that's how I was taught.

                                        if I'm doing a pre-rinse because they're going into the dishwasher, I semi wash to get solids off then rinse well and into the DW they go. that's how I was taught.

                                        always have rinsed in hot water water as I don't want to get sick, taste soap, leave anything on dish, utensil, pot/pan, glass or cup. that's how I was taught and.........I'm married to my husband, 2 good reasons to continue tradition.

                                      3. re: Harters

                                        I'm not interested in eating soap - !?!?!

                                        Do you all have soap bubbles in your soup?

                                        1. re: sandylc

                                          Yes, indeed, sandylc.

                                          The green of the Fairy goes particularly well with creamy soups - good colour contrast.

                                          1. re: Harters

                                            I saw a mango-scented washing-up liquid when I was in Coventry last autumn -- I'm certain it would add exactly the right notes to a curry!

                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                              Hm-mm, soap and food pairings....a new hobby?

                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                seriously -- I've never had a single meal anywhere, public or private, in England (anywhere from Lancs to Hants), Scotland, Wales, or Ireland that tasted even remotely of soap.

                                              2. re: sunshine842

                                                We've settled on Ecover camomile & marigold. It lends the right notes to such a wide spectrum of dishes. Unfortunately, not available in dishwasher tabs, only hand wash liquid.

                                                (PS: Yes, this is our usual washing up liquid)

                                      4. re: pdxgastro

                                        I gotta say, the practice of just pouring water over the backs of the soapy dishes horrified me when the guy I was seeing in London did it twenty-five years ago, and it still horrifies me when my in-laws do it now....I've just never learned to appreciate the soap bubbles in my coffee, sorry.

                                        1. re: tonifi

                                          but nothing tastes of soap bubbles, at least not in any of the private homes where I've eaten....

                                          and any nation as fanatical about tea (and more recently, coffee) as England would certainly not keep a stiff upper lip about soap bubbles in their hot beverages...

                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                            I just bet that those who don't rinse their dishes aren't using tons of soap. I think we here in the US like a sink full of bubbles. I remember my mom complaining that I used too much soap and didn't rinse the dishes well enough, when I was a kid. So, I cut down on the amount of dish soap I used and rinsed them off after washing, as per usual.

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      Yup, Heinz beans in tomato sauce. Blue can. Those are indeed the ones to use.

                                    2. Yes, Heinz. They're good as a topping for baked potatoes, or "jacket" potatoes, as they say over there.

                                      1. A favorite of mine...add a dab of Gulden's mustard

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Lettucepray

                                          I like it with a little mayo and onion.

                                        2. Just to clarify, it's Heinz baked beans in the blue tin--in "tomato sauce." The same ones served in English breakfasts. They're not the same as the brown-sugary ones that Americans often associate with baked beans. I don't remember seeing these very often in American shops, but I know they sell them at Kalustyan's in New York--along with Marmite and PG Tips tea and other British items! Beans on toast isn't exciting, but it is a British staple.

                                          12 Replies
                                          1. re: Kagey

                                            Kagey has it right -- you need to make sure to buy Heinz baked beans. They're much less sweet than the Boston variety.
                                            This may be a simple dish but it can be very comforting. Pile the beans on a couple of slices of thickly buttered toast. Brown HP sauce is my preferred accompaniment. You can probably buy that in the same shop as the beans. You can make the dish more substantial by topping with a fried egg or some grated cheddar.

                                            1. re: katielp

                                              That's interesting, because the only thing I could find when I was in the US were the canned beans with tomato sauce, and the baked beans I was used to were made with molasses and salt pork.

                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                  No, it was California. I grew up in Western Canada, but my Dad was from Southern Ontario, and he made the most amazing baked beans, with the molasses and salt pork. Mmmm....

                                                2. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                  Wow really? Where were you when you were here in the US ? In my parts I've never ever heard of beans in tomato sauce . All I've ever seen are the sweet pork and beans. I'd like to try the other kind though

                                                  1. re: nikups

                                                    The UK Heinz beans in tomato sauce in the blue can is available at most of my local supermarkets in the NYC 'burbs, especially visible at A&P. This is relatively recent, the past 2-3years.

                                                    1. re: nikups

                                                      You're kidding? The common 'Pork 'n Beans' we grew up eating here in the US...ie.,Campbell's & the like... were (and are still) ALL in tomato sauce!

                                                      1. re: The Professor

                                                        Many US baked beans do not have tomatoes in their sauce. Especially Boston/New England style. Heinz and Campbells do. But what we are talking about is that Campbells, Heinz, B&M, etc. are in a sweeter sauce. The UK Heinz in tomato sauce are a more savory and tomato flavored sauce, with many less spices, no molasses, and less of other ingredients.

                                                        Bush's original: white beans, water, brown sugar, sugar, bacon, salt, mustard, corn starch, onion powder, caramel color, spices, garlic powder, and natural flavors. No Tomato.

                                                        B&M regular: Baked Small Pea Beans In Sauce Containing Water, Sugar, Molasses, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Cooked Bacon (Cured With Water, Salt, Sugar, Smoke Flavor, Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite), Salt, Modified Corn Starch, Dried Onion, Spice, Brown Sugar, Natural Smoke Flavor, Dried Garlic, Natural Flavor.

                                                        B&M bacon & onion: Baked small pea beans, water, sugar, molasses, bacon, salt, corn starch, dried onion, spices, brown sugar, smoke flavor, dried garlic, natural flavor.

                                                        B&M vegetarian: Baked Small Pea Beans In Sauce Containing Water, Sugar, Molasses, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Salt, Modified Corn Starch, Dried Onion, Spice, Dried Garlic, Natural Flavor.

                                                        Look's are a fantastic New England bean.
                                                        Look's Atlantic yellow beans: Yellow Eye Beans, Water, Pork, Fancy Grade-a Molasses, Evaporated Cane Juice, Salt and Proprietary Spices.

                                                        Look's Atlantic Soldier beans: Soldier Beans, Water, Pork, Fancy Grade-a Molasses, Pure Cane Sugar, Brown Sugar, Salt and Proprietary Spices.

                                                        Heinz US and UK have tomatoes or tomato paste as an ingredient.

                                                        Heinz UK beans in tomato sauce: Beans (51%), Tomatoes (34%), Water, Sugar, Modified Cornflour, Spirit Vinegar, Salt, Spice Extracts, Herb Extract.

                                                        Heinz US vegetarian: Water, Prepared Beans, Tomato Paste, Brown Sugar, Sugar, Salt, Distilled Vinegar, Modified Corn Starch, Spice, Mustard Seed, Mustard Bran, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Paprika, Turmeric.

                                                        Campell's beans: Water, Cooked Pea Beans, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Modified Food Starch, Salt, Pork, Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Distilled Vinegar, Oleoresin Paprika, Caramel Color, Flavoring.

                                                3. re: Kagey

                                                  It's quite true, they are not the same (ours are way better IMHO!). To make the dish a little more exciting, you can top with mustard and diced sweet onion.

                                                  Heinz are available here at Indian grocery stores.

                                                  1. re: Kagey

                                                    We have PG Tips tea bags (with pyramid shaped bags)in the big boxes here,too. As well as, Marmite and Vegamite in the regular grocery stores in Montana. I wonder why we have so much Brit food in a place that likes to call itself "Butte America". Lots of people claim to be Irish here but, few claim to be Brits.

                                                    1. re: DANelson

                                                      "I wonder why we have so much Brit food in a place that likes to call itself "Butte America". "

                                                      Obviously, a community that enjoys quality food.

                                                  2. If your supermarket has an international aisle, try looking there for authentic British Heinz beans.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                      Matter of opinion. I love Beans on Toast (had an English stepfather) but prefer the B&M that come in a jar.

                                                    2. Having an English mom who can't cook, I grew up on beans on toast. I still have it a few times a year. This is pretty amazing since I am a spice and chile pepper addict and into big bold flavors, while this is a mild dish. Somehow the flavors work quite well.

                                                      In the US the beans are the ones labeled Heinz Vegetarian beans. To make the dish properly you need to add a fat pat of butter to the beans while heating and you need to use decent regular white bread, toasted and heavily buttered. Butter is the key to this dish. For easy eating that doesn't require a knife I cut the buttered toast up into 1"x1" squares before pouring on the beans. Another improvement is adding 1-2 ounces of water to the beans before heating. This increases the "gravy" so the meal isn't dry.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: JMF

                                                        Agree about the bean advice. My English mother would always buy these. I do prefer thickly sliced granary heavily buttered bread if you have that type in the US. Every time I go there I find supermarket sliced bread way too sweet. Someone else recommended Gulden mustard. I use French's.

                                                        1. re: JMF

                                                          B&M bacon and onion beans work really well with this. Of course always with a pat of butter added.

                                                          1. re: JMF

                                                            The way I like these Heinz beans (in tomato sauce) on toast is with melt grated sharp cheddar cheese on grilled sourdough toast with the beans on top of that and then sprinkled lightly with chopped scallions (spring onions).

                                                          2. yes, after spending a bit of time in england, i got hooked on this dish and recreated it when i got back. the heinz vegetarian beans are the best. you can find them in major supermarkets. have a complete traditional british breakfast and serve your beans on toast with grilled (basically fried in olive oil or butter) tomatoes and sautéed mushrooms. sooo good.

                                                            for a visual cue when shopping for your beans: http://tinyurl.com/fomk8

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: wowimadog

                                                              We recently visited Montreal and when we ordered a full breakfast (eggs, meat, potatoes) it always came with a little dish of those beans, and they're really good. The place, by the way, is called Eggspectation and it's great. They open at 6 a.m. and close at 4 p.m., so breakfast and lunch are available. We didn't go there for lunch, but they had an interesting menu.

                                                              1. re: shortchef

                                                                I am an Australian living in Montreal, and the beans you get here aren't actually what we call baked beans. They are feves au lard, sweeter than UK style, and served with, you guessed it - little lumps of pork. Not great for veggos! But good with breakfast, and the non-fussy amongst us are often content to just fish the little lard chunks out!
                                                                We have a brand named "Clarks" here, whose beans in tomato sauce are the closest approximation of heinz baked beans I have found. Even the fancy, deluxe-style Heinz brand cans are not quite right - I suspect they have been adapted for a North American market.

                                                            2. This is indeed a staple of British eating -- when I lived there in the 90s, the canteen at work had it available for breakfast and lunch every day and it was quite popular.

                                                              Also while I lived there the Brits switched over to metric weights in canned goods and the newspapers did this huge "exposé" of the fact that there were something like 23 fewer beans in the new cans -- they had actually counted the beans in a bunch of cans -- LOL.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: GretchenS

                                                                Yes, Virginia, there are bean counters.

                                                                1. re: Akitist

                                                                  Clearly somebody tapped into the OCD victims' market.

                                                                2. re: GretchenS

                                                                  6 year bounce......We used to make errant juniors in the office count them. Any guesses for a standard (14 ounce/400g) tin?

                                                                3. we love everything on toast - eggs, tinned spaghetti, Heinz tinned Macaroni Cheese, beans, sardines, cheese, marmite, jams, pates.

                                                                  15 Replies
                                                                  1. re: smartie

                                                                    Beans on toast is one of my favourite Sunday breakfasts - and I prefer supermarket own label to Heinz.

                                                                    A recent taste test by the Consumers Association put Branston's beans in first place, followed by own label from Asda and Morrisons. Heinz came in 4th. Heaven knows where Sainsbury's own brand came in - but I'm still going to be buying it - nice thick sauce, decent texture to the beans, just the right sweetness (a dollop of English mustard or shake of Lea & Perrins perks it up nicely)

                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                      I just tasted the English versions of Branstons and thought them only ok, and the English Heinz were blah. I think the American vegetarian Heinz much better than both.

                                                                      But the New England Look's beans are fantastic for a mild bean. The soldier beans are my fav.

                                                                      Sweet and strong Boston and bbq style beans don't cut it for beans on toast, although I like them as a side dish .

                                                                      1. re: JMF

                                                                        yes, that's the biggest difference -- UK beans are more savoury and tomatoey (yes, that's technical term) -- while American beans are sweeter and smokier.

                                                                        They each are well-suited to the way in which they're prepared and eaten, but you really can't swap one for the other.

                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                          Heinz beans in the UK do a less sweet version, but it costs more than the regular ones. In general Heinz are just very expensive so I go for the cheaper version.

                                                                      2. re: Harters

                                                                        I like the Crosse and Blackwell ones along with the Branston's. Haven't tried either Asda or Morrisons yet, but I'm on it! Lidl often do deals on 4 packs of the first two.

                                                                        1. re: cathodetube

                                                                          I'll have to try the Crosse and Blackwell brand. I know we have those here in my neck of the Northern US woods. Our grocery stores carry most Crosse and Blackwell food products,

                                                                      3. re: smartie

                                                                        Tinned mac &cheese? Where can I find it? It's probably awful but I do have to try it.

                                                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                                                          Holy cow! taste memory flashback! Canned macaroni and cheese. I think it was made by Chef Boyardee (in Canada) and it was very odd (in a tasty sort of way).

                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                            I'm guessing it tasted a lot like ravioli, spaghetti and meatballs, and spaghetti o's. LOL Why does everything Chef Boyardee taste the same?

                                                                            1. re: BobbyG

                                                                              The pasta, yes, the cheese sauce was sort of thinnish lumpy-ish. No tomato or meat, not as dogfoody-smelling.

                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                Oops! How could I forget? It was Franco-American who made the canned mac and cheese, not French's

                                                                            2. re: buttertart

                                                                              Don't know about Canada, but in New England it was French's who made canned macaroni and cheese. I have very fond memories of bringing it nearly every day in a thermos during the winter I was in first grade (we went home for lunch during the spring and fall). I get the impression it was a regional thing, because I moved to Maryland in third grade and it was no longer to be found. They discontinued making it completely since then.

                                                                              I still remember those long, fat, wormy noodles in thick white sauce. My brother was horrified at the sight of it.

                                                                              1. re: sablemerle

                                                                                It definitely was a foodstuff onto itself.

                                                                                1. re: sablemerle

                                                                                  I live in Baltimore and French's can Mac & Cheese is everywhere here. I luv it cold. Lol

                                                                              2. re: EWSflash

                                                                                I don't know in the USA but Heinz make it in England.

                                                                            3. My (Aussie) neighbor says to add corn.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. My Nana (child of Irish immigrants) loved beans on toast. Actually its the only thing besides butterscotch pudding I can remember her cooking. Nana used Van Camps pork n beans but took out the pork, she said the taste was closest.

                                                                                1. In California (and I think Arizona) Heinz Baked Beans are readily available at all Fresh 'N Easy stores (which are owned by UK supermarket giant Tesco). They also have British/Irish style back bacon, and treacle pudding in cans.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: soyarra

                                                                                    I saw them at Stater Bros in Long Beach, CA; they may be in all Stater Bros markets.

                                                                                  2. Beans on toast remind me of being at university on a food budget...always favoured Branston over Heinz although both much improved through adding a little curry powder or hot paprika and eating on thick white toast :-)
                                                                                    If having with English breakfast I like to cook in frying pan until the sauce thickens and you have to shake off the spoon

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: LBJR09

                                                                                      That reminds me (in a sort of combo answer to this and to the thread on tastes changing with age) - my English grandpa who served in India in WWI days and retained a fondness for curry all his life used to add a whole *tin* of curry powder to his pork and beans (SW Ontario appellation) toward the end. He commented it just didn't have the same kick as it used to.

                                                                                    2. I like mine with lots of freshly ground black pepper and French's mustard. Crusty sliced toasted bread with butter is the perfect base.

                                                                                      1. Heh, when I stayed at the Luxembourg Hilton the buffet breakfast spread was extensive, and I was surprised to lift a chafing dish and see a tray of beans. I suppose placed there for the English tourists.

                                                                                        15 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                          Probably. It's a fairly recent addition to the concept of the "full" cooked English breakfast - say last 30 years or so. You wouldnt find it offered in "good" hotels in the UK which would tend to keep their offerings to sausage, bacon, fried eggs, mushrooms and, perhaps, grilled tomatoes and fried bread (and black pudding in certain parts of the country).

                                                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                                                            We stayed in a B&B on the south coast for several days ten years ago. The first morning, the owner noticed I snarfed down all of my full English save the grilled tomatoes. He kindly offered to substitute baked beans the next day. I was hooked. That is a breakfast that will keep you going till dinner (or should I say supper?) time. Still have it occasionally at home in Vancouver.

                                                                                            1. re: grayelf

                                                                                              Supper, dinner or tea. Depends partly where in the UK you come from and your social class.

                                                                                              Posh southerners might have supper. Working class Scots might have tea. Most of us have have dinner (except those who've called it tea - in which case they have dinner at lunchtime.

                                                                                              Most cafe "full English" offerings will be either tomatoes or beans (occasionally both). I can't take to tomato at brekkie - although Mrs H is quite happy with just bacon and tomato.

                                                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                                                I've been making fried green tomatoes this week with my eggs and beans. Have had for lunch and dinner. Thinly sliced, salt and peppered, dipped in cornmeal, both sides and then cooked in pan prior to cooking eggs. Delicious. Local farmer at market had a huge amount he was selling off cheaply.

                                                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                                                  Interesting linguistic quirk - when I was growing up (on the US side of the pond) we ate supper. Nowadays it's mostly dinner, and supper strikes me as somewhat lower class. I'm not sure whether that's really a class difference or just a generational difference here.

                                                                                                  1. re: BobB

                                                                                                    Funny you bring that up, Bob, I grew up in NYC and supper always sounded "classier"--go figure!

                                                                                                    1. re: Grosso

                                                                                                      Over here in the UK, at least down in the South, saying "do come for supper" is middle to upper.

                                                                                                      1. re: cathodetube

                                                                                                        But it's not necessarily referring to 'dinner'.

                                                                                                        1. re: pj26

                                                                                                          An invitation to "supper" is invariably an invitation to "dinner" in the UK, as indicated by cathodetube.

                                                                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                                                                            "Supper" is sometimes used here in posher circles for a late-night collation.

                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                              Whereas a late night supper in the UK would be a snack just before going to bed. Not something you'd invite anyone to. Unless, ahem, things other than food were on your mind, if you get my drift.

                                                                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                The "come up and see my etchings?" kind of supper...

                                                                                                            1. re: pj26

                                                                                                              Don't forget to pronounce it suppah as opposed to supp-er.

                                                                                                  2. re: Harters

                                                                                                    Ah, fried bread, freshly sliced off a huge Hovis loaf. What a blast from the past.

                                                                                                2. Fans of Brit beans (and Brit greasy spoon caffs) will enjoy this blog

                                                                                                  http://russelldavies.typepad.com/eggb...

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                                                    Great blog, thanks. Shame he has closed the comments section.

                                                                                                  2. A month or so ago, I spent a relative fortune at Cost Plus for a can of Heinz baked beans, imported from England. Could've had the same taste for what is costs for a can of store-label American beans.

                                                                                                    Also: beans on toast tastes exactly as you'd expect it to. So if that doesn't sound appealing, don't bother. If it does, go with whatever's on sale.

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Muskrat

                                                                                                      Just buy the Heinz Vegetarian beans as mentioned above. Don't need to buy imports.

                                                                                                      1. re: Muskrat

                                                                                                        ha...I did the same thing for my mom a few weeks ago...she's been watching BBC comedies and was having beans on toast, so I bought her the heinz to try and she said it tastes the same to her as veg bushes...

                                                                                                      2. It's a nostalgic dish for me. When I lived in England as a child this was the only hot breakfast that we were allowed to cook when the parents were still sleeping. We always added a layer of canadian bacon.

                                                                                                        1. I had a tin of beans last night alongside a 'Cornish' pasty made in London. This was after going out and buying 4 packs of 4 Heinz beans. I am stocked up for a while. Really good with a poached or fried egg too.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: cathodetube

                                                                                                            I make pasties from time to time - and baked beans are the perfect accompaniement, IMO.

                                                                                                          2. Try spreading some Marmite thinly on buttered toast before topping with baked beans. I have recently discovered this. Also good with grilled or fried tomatoes on top.

                                                                                                            15 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: cathodetube

                                                                                                              For "posh" beans, fry an onion and/or celery then add the beans. Add any or all of ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, mustard.

                                                                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                Sounds like bbq baked beans. Could add molasses or treacle. Good with hotdogs.

                                                                                                                1. re: cathodetube

                                                                                                                  I seem to recall it was a "recipe" in a British BBQ book (not that our climate really gives us much opportunity to cook outdoors)

                                                                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                    BBQ in England and the USA mean different things Harters. In the UK it means cooking on a coal or gas grill outside, known as grilling in the US or having a cook out.

                                                                                                                    1. re: smartie

                                                                                                                      Actually barbecuing is used in that sense (cooking foods over charcoal outside) in some parts of the States and Canada too.

                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                        Ah, that's interesting. Are the parts of the States that use the word that way up north?

                                                                                                                        American BBQ is a subject I'm determined to learn more about. On our last trip, I'd hoped to follow a BBQ trail through North Carolina but it didnt come to pass. We will be back in Dixie in a couple of years.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                          I am from the Northern US and you can use the word to mean the flavour of something cooked outside as well. We also use the word cook-out as in cooked outside.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                            North and Midwest. I don't recall what was in usual use in Northern California.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                              Yes, in New England a barbecue just means cooking outside on a grill, usually hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages, and in my family's case (Gawd help us), chicken pieces doused in bright magenta Ah So! Sauce.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                I grew up in Virginia just out of DC, lived in Chicago for a time, and have been in Los Angeles for over ten years - and being invited to a barbecue has always meant, in my experience, that there will be hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. I'm not denying that it means other things elsewhere at all, just mentioning that apparently the "cookout" sense is a bit spread out over the whole country; either that or I happen to gravitate to people with my same vocabulary everywhere I go... =)

                                                                                                                              2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                I'm down South! well kinda - S Fl has some Southerners. But if you say BBQ here it means Southern BBQ.

                                                                                                                            2. re: Harters

                                                                                                                              In Iowa, "Barbeque" usually refers to a large cut of meat cooked outdoors, "low and slow" over either charcoal, wood, or gas, long enough for it to get that distinctive smokey barbeque flavor.

                                                                                                                              When cooking things like chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, brats, steaks or chops on a grill outdoors, we usually refer to that as "grilling" or "cooking out." (As in, "Let's have a cook out tonight."

                                                                                                                              1. re: Jaylah

                                                                                                                                Where in IA? Family in the Quad Cities area uses barbecue as in cookout.

                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                  Central.

                                                                                                                                  We may use "barbeque" in that manner although -- as I said -- if so, it would imply that one was cooking larger cuts of meat in the "low-n-slow" method.

                                                                                                                                  So, for example, if I said, "We're having a barbeque this weekend, would you like to come?" you would be perfectly justified in assuming we would be serving brisket, pulled pork, ribs, whole chickens, etc.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jaylah

                                                                                                                                    That surprises the stuffing out of me.

                                                                                                                      2. I'm born and raised in California and beans on toast don't seem odd to me. Of course I like Van Camps Pork n Beans on a slice of white bread with mayonnaise, so maybe my opinion shouldn't count. ;-)

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                          "...so maybe my opinion shouldn't count"....
                                                                                                                          yes it should and it does

                                                                                                                        2. so help me. Mrs. Cox ~~ Home Economics. 7th grade. "Saucy Boston Beanwiches"
                                                                                                                          Broil toast on one side, turn over and cover w/baked beans; a slice of tomato, and two strips bacon. Broil until bacon is crisp.
                                                                                                                          top w/cheese sauce

                                                                                                                          I came home and made it for the family to rave reviews. It became a staple for many years.

                                                                                                                          NW PA

                                                                                                                          1. My mom, not English but French, born and raised in New York, loved beans on toast. She had a huge aversion to mayonnaise or butter on bread (huh?) and yeah, I'd be so grossed out seeing her eat that on most mornings when she was having a quick breakfast. Always with tea too. I'm really sad now that I never asked her why and how she got started with this.

                                                                                                                            Actually now I rather like the idea of beans on toast and would welcome most any kind of bean on toasted bread. mmm making me hungry.

                                                                                                                            1. Thick brown toast, thickly buttered. Supermarket own-brand beans, cooked til thick. Add lots of black pepper and worcestershire sauce. Fried egg on top, or cheese underneath. Cup of tea.

                                                                                                                              I think if the OP is looking for something "different" he might be missing the point - it's a quick, cheap, comforting, filling, and reasonably nutritious meal, made entirely of things one tends to have in the cupboard.

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: gembellina

                                                                                                                                Or a meal you make when you really can't be that bothered to make anything.

                                                                                                                              2. This lunchtime, I had the misfortune to eat the French version of beans on toast.

                                                                                                                                LIke the British version, this came in a tin.

                                                                                                                                Like the British version, it was beans in a thin tomatoey sauce.

                                                                                                                                Like some of the British versions, this had vile tasteless Frankfurter sausages in it. And some bits of fatty pork.

                                                                                                                                Like the British version, it had come recommended. By a guy in the supermarket (Carrefour @ Calais).

                                                                                                                                Unlike the British version, this was called cassoulet.

                                                                                                                                Unlike cassoulet, this was nothing like cassoulet.

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. I actually now prefer Bush Vegetarian Baked Beans over the Heinz Baked Beans :). Have not found a substitute for English sliced bread sadly :(. My mouth waters when I see a Brit tv show and they are eating it...it even sounds different when you eat it toasted, and a sandwhich....oh my goodness...lol

                                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bigfatreddawg01

                                                                                                                                      Just to tempt you......

                                                                                                                                      .......sliced white bread..............fried smoked back bacon..............brown sauce.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                        Try them on Marmite toast John. Great stuff.

                                                                                                                                        Edit: Ah.....Just spotted that Cathodetube has already suggested this.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Robin Joy

                                                                                                                                          Can't stand Marmite, Robin. But I can see how it would work :-)

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                          The first thing I'm eating when I go back to England at Xmas is this exact meal. I can't wait!

                                                                                                                                        3. re: Bigfatreddawg01

                                                                                                                                          Was in England a couple of weeks ago. No one had decent toast. It was all of the Wonder Bread ilk. Big disappointment. Has Hovis gone the way of the dodo?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                            You must have been very unlucky. Almost every outlet here in the UK offers a wide variety of toasted bread. Probably not high-end artisan products, but usually granary, wholemeal and plain white at the least. Hovis (original and several variations) is on the shelves of all supermarkets.

                                                                                                                                            Off topic a bit, but IMO generic soft sliced white does actually have its uses. Roast beef or peanut butter sandwiches, for example.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Robin Joy

                                                                                                                                              And, even Hovis does a few versions of a white loaf.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                              Do you mean hotels and their toast at breakfast?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: cathodetube

                                                                                                                                                Yes. But back in the day, their toast was usually a thick slice of Hovis.

                                                                                                                                          2. I must admit that English "Beans on Toast" is a running good-natured joke between me (love to cook) & my UK friend (hates to cook). I keep telling her that "Beans on Toast is one step up from prison food - no, it's more like a lateral step".

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                              "Beans on Toast is one step up from prison food "

                                                                                                                                              I've no experience of prison food, so havn't got an opinion on that.

                                                                                                                                            2. My Dad loved beans on toast. He is a simple eater nothing too complicated. As a little girl I enjoyed this as well. It is good when the toast is hot and the beans are hot otherwise lukewarm mediocre. It is practical meal and for someone like my Dad who went through the depression comforting as it probably was a reliable source of food when very little was available.

                                                                                                                                              1. Whilst I do not enjoy beans on toast, I sometimes eat them on jacket potatoes. On some of our trips to England we have had beans on toast at B&B's but not for a couple of years now.

                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                                                    Yes, I do that here in Canada as well.

                                                                                                                                                1. "I like to read British mysteries. Strangely, the food most often mentioned
                                                                                                                                                  in this genre is "beans on toast""

                                                                                                                                                  I also read British mysteries. Lots. Strangely I have not come across any reference to beans on toast that I recall.

                                                                                                                                                  Just read a collection of Rumpole stories in which food is often used as a sidelight. No beans on toast. Jeeves and Bertie Wooster? Poirot? Wimsey?

                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: FrankJBN

                                                                                                                                                    Reggie Jeeves would never permit baked beans into the flat. Although they started out as a premium product in the mid 1880s, by the time of Jeeves & Wooster, that was long gone. The food most mentioned in those stories, IIRC, is Bertie's breakfast bacon and eggs.

                                                                                                                                                    Poirot, of course is very faddy about his food - what with him being a frankophone Belgian.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: FrankJBN

                                                                                                                                                      Check out LPW in The Five Red Herring - - believe beans on toast was victim's breakfast (or part thereof). Also, you might find Ngaio Marsh or Dorothy Allingham mentioning these.

                                                                                                                                                    2. Seeing lots of references to Heinz beans, does the brand of Libbey`s still exist?

                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                                                        Wikipedia indicates that Libby's was bought out by Nestle in 1971. I wouldnt know if they still use the name where you are, but they don't here in the UK. They used to produce fruit juice in my region (north west England) but that factory closed some time ago.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                          the jingle in the US was "When you see LIbbys, Libbys, Libbys on the label, label, label - you will like it, like it, like it on your table, table, table -- so look for Libbys, Libbys, Libbys on the label, label, label!

                                                                                                                                                          Yes, it was as annoying as it sounds.

                                                                                                                                                          Libbys is still a viable brand name in the States.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                            This particular thread just got topical, and a lot funnier for me. The husband just told the story of the can of Heinz beans that he and his boss (also a Brit) had absolutely hoarded for just the longest time...waiting for the day they really felt they needed proper beans on toast. Can you guess? They waited a bit too long, when the can opener pierced the can the can exploded and sent beans flying all over the kitchen. I can't help picturing Anne Margaret in 'Tommy'. That was beans, wasn't it?

                                                                                                                                                      2. Beans on Toast is, indeed, an old favorite from the heyday of polite mystery fiction. Another curious combination from that era was spaghetti on toast - i.e. the tinned (canned) variety ala Chef Boyardee. The beans referred to usually meant the Heinz vegetarian version with the blue and white label. This was a popular late-night supper after the pubs shut.
                                                                                                                                                        When pizza made its debut in the UK one of the toppings offered was baked beans. I don't think it survived more than a decade.
                                                                                                                                                        Boston baked beans on wheat doesn't compute all that well. Boston beans are very flavourful but not loose enough and white bread toast is the only way to go.

                                                                                                                                                        1. Beans On Toast, here's how you do it: 1) Toast a slice of whole wheat bread. 2) Butter it while it's hot. 3) Over it pour the contents of a can of whatever style of pork & beans (in England, baked beans) you like. The beans should be very hot. 4) Eat this with a knife and fork (it doesn't pick up well) and with a pickle on the side. 5) If you drink a mug of hot strong tea with it the whole thing is called A Bean Tea.

                                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                            I've had numerous servings of beans on toast over the years in England, and all were on white toast, and none contained pork.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                              White toast tends to be served in greasy spoon cafes. I like mine on granary toast. But pork and beans are certainly not traditional. Pork in the form of bacon or sausage can be served on the side, usually at breakfast.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                Prok is definitely non-traditional, as is pickle (whether we're talking about Branston-type pickle/chutney, or American dill pickles). I've never heard the phrase "bean tea" either! Where in the UK does that name come from?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gembellina

                                                                                                                                                                  There may be something historical in "pork & beans" - during the Great War, tins of pork and beans were issued as rations to British & Dominion troops in the trenches. Food during the war is a current interest of mine. There is little information available but it seems the issue started with Canadian troops and internet sources suggest the British Army sourced the supplies via the Canadian Pacific Railway. However, I've been unable to find satisfactory evidence to confirm this.

                                                                                                                                                                  That said, in terms of the modern, or fairly modern, British baked beans, pork doesnt feature as an ingredient. Generally speaking, that is. Heinz do make a product that includes sausages in the beans.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                    Have you ever heard the expression 'bean tea' because I haven't and I live here. Maybe it's specific to a certain region. It's always been just beans on toast wherever I have been.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                      The Heinz tin has unpleasant, slightly gritty-textured sausages - and best not to ask why, given what we know now!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gembellina

                                                                                                                                                                        Heinz beans from Britain also taste different than Heinz beans from the US -- they're sweeter and more tomato-ey (technical term, that).

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                  ...and if two or more of you have beans on toast at the same time then the Bean Tea becomes a Ban Feast (at least in Scotland, it does!) - and is one of my favorite late suppers.

                                                                                                                                                                3. 'Google' Full English Breakfast Photos. Either they make you gag or salivate with desire. LOL

                                                                                                                                                                  1. I'm American with British roots so I naturally love English tea, biscuits and everyday fare. When I make beans on toast I also use a good quality bread, white or wheat, toasted dark, and spread with real butter. I use vegetarian beans, add a dollop of mustard and catsup, cook till hot. Pile on the toast, add a dash of black pepper and a tablespoon or two of small diced sweet yellow or purple onion, That really enhances this simple yet delicious snack or meal.

                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: SandalledContessa

                                                                                                                                                                      Wheat bread? Then what is the white made from? Do you mean whole wheat, granary or even brown, like Hovis bread?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cathodetube

                                                                                                                                                                        take a breath -- "wheat bread" is Americanese for bread that isn't white.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cathodetube

                                                                                                                                                                          Hovis is good. Much American bread makes for very poor toast. Any Hovis slice would be fine for Beans on Toast.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Baked beans on toast is one of the most revolting breakfast dishes I can imagine - and I've had breakfast in British B&Bs where the other guests would merrily chow down on it as if it were the most normal thing in the world. Now, refried beans on tortillas - that's a real breakfast!

                                                                                                                                                                        It's a matter of what you grew up with.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. British beans on toast does not include pork in general, although you can buy it with little sausages included. You also don't tend to find molasses or maple syrup as common ingredients, just the simple tomato sauce they come in.

                                                                                                                                                                          Serve them with hot buttered toast, and the kind of toast doesn't really matter, personally, I like white with my beans.

                                                                                                                                                                          Oh, and Bean tea? Never heard that phrase before. Sounds like someone misheard the term "cream tea".

                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Musie

                                                                                                                                                                            When we landed in Paris we went to a 'fancy restaurant'. My younger sister who was about ten ordered 'wieners and beans'. The waiter brought her 'cassoulet'.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Musie

                                                                                                                                                                              Misheard nothing. Had an English stepfather. I also use a tea cozy and know to warm the pot.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Musie

                                                                                                                                                                                then man, I've been in a lot of places with imperfect hearing.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. I lived in England for about a year while in college in the late 80s (near Oxford). My friends there were all vegan and ate a lot of beans-on-toast , toast spread with peanut butter or marmite. Always whole wheat bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                I always liked it and still eat it today. I use Campbells pork and beans or make my own using great northern or navy beans. Pepperidge farm very thin whole wheat, toasted fairly crisp, and Smucker's natural peanut butter. I like marmite okay but it's sort of hard to come by and expensive where I live, so I almost never bother with that. It's a good, cheap, fast meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. Here in Butte, Montana, they eat beans of toast. We also can buy these imported English beans at Albertson's and Safeway grocery stores in the same area that all the other beans are.I double checked to make certain that they were the same beans. Apparently, BWL in Westlake Village, California is the US distributor. I never even gave these Heinz beans in the blue can a second thought, until I saw this post about "beans on toast". Here, in this frozen hell of an old Western mining town they, like to eat these beans with the locally famous "Butte Pasties". These (Cornish) pasties are served with beef gravy (or catsup) coleslaw and a side of these beans. We actually have several pasty shops and most cafes serve them. We also have "cocktail pasties". These are mini pasties that are served at wedding receptions and parties. Most people here know how to make these things and lots of people think they have to eat these beans with their pasty "fix". Pasties and these beans are Butte "comfort foods" for lunch or supper. Locals, miners and cowboys eat beans on toast for breakfast or lunch. I heard the local jail serves these beans on toast, too. Go figure.

                                                                                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DANelson

                                                                                                                                                                                    That's interesting.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I make pasties for dinner now and again and our standard accompaniment is a tin of baked beans.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                      Were there miners in Cornwall that may have left there to work copper, silver and gold mines here in Montana at some point in the distant past? I suspect that may be why we here, in this old mining town have many similar dishes in common. I want to check my basic pasty recipe with you.
                                                                                                                                                                                      I'd like to know if we make them the same way: For the pastry: I use. aprox. 3 cups flour 1/2 to 1 tsp. salt, 1 and 1/4 cups lard (or shortening. Lard is more "authentic" with meat pies etc) 3/4 cup ice water, this is slightly more than I'd use in pie pastry This is worked into a dough and divided into 6 equal parts and rolled out. The filling is aprox 5 or 6 juicy potatoes diced or sliced, 2 large or 3 medium onions dice or sliced, Aprox. 2 or more pounds of good quality beef and/or venison. The meat can be either sliced or diced. If slice meat is used, the ingredients are added in layers. If diced meat, potatoes and onions are used, the ingredients are mixed together Add
                                                                                                                                                                                      Parsley (to your liking), salt, pepper and a goodly amount of melted butter. (the butter is very important). The pastry is filled,folded together and crimped.Making the pastry oblong eliminates the lump of dough on each end. I prick the tops with a fork and brush them with a little cream or milk while they are baking (for a golden glaze on top). Is this much like you make your pasties? We also have these beef and kidney "seasoned pudding" things that we do that that are assembled much like a pasty and then cooked in boiling water. They aren't what people in other places would call a pudding and they aren't quite beef and kidney pie, either. Do you Brits have a dish similar to this and if so, what do you call it? Or is the "Beef and Kidney Seasoned Pudding" (boiled pasty like thing) utterly ours alone?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DANelson

                                                                                                                                                                                        I make no claims whatsoever about authenticity in my pasties. Not least as I always use canned cooked stew meat rather than fresh. Pastry is a standard shortcrust - 2 parts flour, 1 part fat (usually lard). Filling, apart from the meat, is potato, onion and carrot - very fine dice, say, only 3mm cubes or thereabouts.

                                                                                                                                                                                        The pudding thing sounds like it may be an adaption of a British dish. There is steak & kidney pie which also goes into shortcrust pastry. But there's also steak & kidney pudding - which is a suet pastry, which is then steamed, not boiled. It's the same sort of pastry as encloses several of our very traditional desserts. Here's a link about the steak puddings - http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandsty...

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                          Regarding your pasty recipe. Many people add diced carrot to their pasties here, too. Some use ground meat or the prepared pasty meat from the butcher. I don't know anyone who uses canned meat.I don't think we have canned stew meat,here (it's cattle country).I've have used packaged stew meat and then diced it up for pasties.
                                                                                                                                                                                          I probably should have been clearer when I said the "pudding", pasty like thing was boiled.
                                                                                                                                                                                          The "boiling" of the beef and kidney "pudding" (according to the local recipe) is thus:"Place the pudding in heavy cheese cloth or a tea-towel and submerged it in boiling water and simmered gently for 4 hrs." I know people who steam it over boiling water or do it in a mold placed in a crockpot with water in the bottom, as well. I don't care for kidneys, so I don't make it. But, I do have the recipe for it and I've considered "tweaking" the recipe and making it with streak and beef or lamb heart, instead. Thanks for the posting the link. The local "pudding" does sound sound like a very similar dish. I like the idea of using a pudding mold and streaming it in a steamer. The suet pastry is similar, too. I think most people use lard or a mixture of both. Thanks so much for responding to my questions.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DANelson

                                                                                                                                                                                            Ah, that's very interesting.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Steak & kidney pudding is made in a bowl and steamed. Your explanation that the mix is just wrapped in a cloth and cooked makes me wonder if its origins are in a very specific part of north west England.

                                                                                                                                                                                            The town of Oldham (part of my metro area) has dish which is, I think, unique to the town and is known as "rag pudding" - the mix being cooked in a cloth rag. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rag_pudding

                                                                                                                                                                                            As for using tinned meat, I've been cooking this for 35+ years and that was the original recipe. The original also called for using tinned potatoes but I've never done that.The recipe has always worked and I've never thought there was a need to change it.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                              Thank you for the information and the link. I don't think anyone here knows the origins of our pasty-like "pudding". I had assumed that it came from Cornwall. Since, the local Butte, Montana pasties seem to have roots in Cornwall. Unless, you listen to the Irish, who claim that they originated in Ireland. Others, claim that pasties originated here. Which I think is far from the truth.
                                                                                                                                                                                              The "Rag Pudding with Mash" indicated on wikipedia as an "external link" sounds nearly identical, actually, (minus the use of the 1 Tbls. of corn flour) The wine used in my local beef and kidney pasty-like "pudding"recipe is simply specified as "red wine". The local"pudding' is always served with mashed potatoes.It's interesting that Oldham believes that the dish is unique to their town and my town falsely, believes that the dish is unique to us. It's really quite funny.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Okay, we know the beans are Heinz. But what about the toast? What makes up the bread used for toast? Is there a name for typical British toasting bread? Any pointers to a typical British bread recipe used for beans on toast? (I have baked metric recipes, in fact I prefer grams in baking recipes.) Is it made with plain flour (a.p. flour), strong flour (bread flour), wholemeal flour (whole wheat flour) or a combination? Does it use other grains, oats, rye, etc? Does it include milk, butter or eggs in the recipe?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Somebody told me they eat spaghetti sandwiches too. De gustibus non disputandum est, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: emu48

                                                                                                                                                                                        I've actually caught people eating spaghetti sandwiches. It struck me as weird. Where I encountered the "spaghetti sandwich eaters" was in San Diego, CA. They were raiding my fridge at 2:00 AM. What I did for them was to warm up some of my delicious, meaty home made pasta sauce and spooned it over some good Italian bread. That's what they wanted with bread was the sauce. Not the spaghetti between the slices of bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DANelson

                                                                                                                                                                                          When I was in England thirty years ago we saw spaghetti on toast on the afternoon tea menu. We asked what it was "toast a piece of bread and open a tin of spaghetti..."

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: frond

                                                                                                                                                                                            I was going to mention this! It's quite often spaghetti 'hoops' in tomato sauce. Quite often served to small children for dinner. Never tried it myself, but would be quite a carbfest.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I had an English stepfather. Some English people swear that the beans have to be Heinz Baked Beans but I prefer an American brand, B&M, the one that comes in a jar. Heat the beans really hot and pour them over a piece of good whole wheat bread that you have toasted and slathered in butter. Timing is all as this dish must be eaten good and hot. On the side, you have options: chutney, ketchup, mustard, some variety of pickle, salad, coleslaw. If you have a mug of hot tea with this, the entire collation is called A Bean Tea. If you don't much like beans then Beans on Toast probably sounds disgusting but if you are a bean lover, there's hardly any meal better. I always keep a jar of beans on hand and some whole wheat bread in the freezer against the moment when yearning overcomes me.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                          I like Van Camps pork 'n beans on buttered bread and chili beans on a piece of buttered bread. I will have to try the B&M beans on a slice of my homemade Buttermilk Whole Wheat bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Okay, being curious, I bought a can of Heinz Beans with the turquoise label from Cost Plus (I was born and live in California). I have never tasted a more bland can of beans. It tasted like a can of plain white beans with a little plain tomato sauce stirred in. The label also listed sugar, salt, vinegar, herbs and spices. Couldn't detect any of those ingredients. Bleh.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I love Van Camps Pork and Beans on toast. I will stick with that.

                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                                            I guess they aren't supposed to be spicy in any way, but I do agree with you about the blandness. I buy cheaper beans here and then doctor them with worcester sauce, or put marmite on my toast before topping with beans. Grated strong cheddar cheese is also good, served with a baked potato. They are essentially a 'nursery' type food, for kids, so the flavours aren't strong.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cathodetube

                                                                                                                                                                                              Okay, so that must be it. We tend to doctor our cans of beans also. I was searching Google in the .uk domain for homemade baked beans and the recipes appeared to be quite good. I will try some of those.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                                                                                Never made homemade bakes beans, would be interested to see how they turn out. My English mother used to like the vegetarian canned beans available in the States. She said they were most like the English ones. I can't remember the brand name. While growing up in the States, I only remember having baked beans at barbeques, cook-outs etc. served with hotdogs and hamburgers.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: cathodetube

                                                                                                                                                                                                Absolutely correct, cathodetube. Non-spicy nursery food, also enjoyed by we adult Britons. That's the whole point of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Heinz beans were the beans of choice. The British are addicted to toast so therefore I grew up on dishes such as beans on toast, sardines on toast and one I personally did not like was tinned spaghetti on toast. These exotic dishes are usually eaten in the evening as a light supper.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bronwen

                                                                                                                                                                                                Ah. Now that definition of a British "supper" may depend on a person's location in the country and/or their social class. For me, supper isnt a meal but a couple of biscuits before I go to bed.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Sort of in the same vein as Mexican molletes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Heinz baked beans on toast with crisp streaky bacon pieces on top.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Those British Heinz baked beans are awful! I bought some from the international aisle at Wegmans, and they are just cooked beans in tomato sauce....no depth of flavor at all, no spices...no flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    21 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Joyous56

                                                                                                                                                                                                      they are exactly what they are supposed to be. They aren't supposed to taste like American baked beans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sorry to have offended. I love to try dishes that are traditional in other countries, and anticipate that I will be eating something wonderfully different from my usual fare. I do admit I was disappointed by the Heinz beans, and perhaps it is an acquired taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Joyous56

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Without trawling through all the above posts, I'm sure others will, like sunshine, have said that's how they are supposed to be. In essence they are, and always have been, kids food (except when they were first introduced in the 19th century, as an American import - one reason why Heinz remains the brand leader). Food for children is usually quite bland in British cooking - no heavy spicing, often sweetish - baked beans are a classic example. They remain popular with adults, not just as we grew up with them but they now often form an integral part of the bottom end of the "full breakfast" market.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                          What Harters said. As I got older, I started doctoring them a bit. Marmite on the toast, grated cheese on the beans, and freshly ground black pepper is usually as far as I go. As someone else said up top, they are also good on a baked potato with added cheese. That combo is often found at lunchtime in cafe, for an old school type meal. I sometimes do add American mustard to the beans if I don't have marmite for the toast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Again, sorry to offend. My American tastes are accustomed to a bit more complexity of flavors. I imagine that, if this is what you grew up with, it's a very comforting dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Joyous56

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I didn't find it offensive. What part of the country did you grow up in, and when? I wouldn't say American cooking was overly flavourful and adventurous back in the day, unless perhaps you were in the Southwest with a Hispanic influence. I grew up in the Midwest, and then came here as a teenager. My British mother cooked American and English food. I didn't have my first curry until I came here. Did have mild versions of chilli in the States. Also had Italian, Greek and Chinese food, as well as Japanese, but never sushi until much older. English food was extremely bland when I first came to London, but thankfully, the cross cultural influences have changed that. Perhaps the lust for English mustard with roast beef was deemed necessary to give the British palate a bit of a jolt. But, the English did/do have a lot of spiced chutneys and pickles which I had never come across in the US. Tried those for the first time after arriving here and still love them as an accompaniment to a cheese plate or sandwich.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cathodetube

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I grew up in the NE...Upstate NY. People in this area are quite varied as to how adventurous they are around cooking. Many I know are Italian, and make wonderful, spicy, traditional Italian recipes. Many people just cook basic foods. I like to try different recipes, from different countries and cultures, and have a great deal of fun with that. I have a friend who lives near mexico, and I learned how to make 'Enchiladas Verde' from her...just an example.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                So, is Curry now a British dish? I'd love to get some recipes. I suppose that it comes from the Indian influence in Britain. Chutneys and Pickles fascinate me, but I think they require a lot of work to make at home. Would love to get some recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Where are you living now?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Joyous56

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Curry has been eaten in Britain for many years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The first recipe published here was in Hannah Glasse's cookbook published in 1747. The first Indian restaurant, the Hindostanee Coffee House opened in 1809. And the longest established restaurant, still operating, is the Veerswamy which opened in 1926. I recall my much older cousin always visiting that restaurant in the 1960s when he visited the capital for his business

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The popularity was due to the number of Britons who worked in India (as it was then) during the colonial times and brought the love of the food back when they returned to the UK. Of course, the popularity has increased, as might be expected, since the immigration from the sub-continent in the 1970s. Whilst many of the restaurants follow a pretty standard menu pattern there are a growing number which get away from the idea that food from the sub-continent is just "curry" and offer the different regional or national dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Recipes for chutney and pickle are all over the internet. There are two styles. One is quickly made and eaten as a condiment. The other is for long term preservation of fruit or vegetables. In the latter case, the usual distinction between a chutney and a pickle is that a pickle has identifiable bits, while chutney is more of puree texture. Both are part of a centurys old British tradition of the use of a lot of spices and powerful flavours in our cooking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks much, mostly because you distinguished chutney from pickle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've made curry plenty of times, but would love to hear about some recipes served in Britain. Do tell!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Joyous56

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      All you need to do is buy a good cookbook. Madhur Jaffrey's "Curry Nation" is very Brit orientated (and incluudes recipes from "ordinary people" who appeared in the TV series. Her "Curry Bible" or "Curry Easy" might also be good bets

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Joyous56

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I live in London. Curry has been anglicised a lot. Chicken tikka masala is one such dish. I am more partial to the South Indian cuisine, am lucky to have such a restaurant very near me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Joyous56

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Didnt offend me, or my cultural foody background.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's interesting how you describe your American tastes. I've been visiting the country since 1980 and find most American food to be bland when it is not overly sweet and, certainly, mono-dimensional. Of course, I can comment on the food in the states which I have visited - almost all of those on the eastern seaboard and some adjacent ones. Other family members have travelled more to the west coast states but come back with pretty much the same comments.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Obviously not all the food I've eaten in America has been like this. The internet provides opportunities to seek out places which offer the chance of good food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hamburgers are ubiquitously American, and I hope you have tried some. There are all sorts of techniques, from Burger King, to some of our local places that flatten the beef with a glass plate, add hot sauce, mustard, onions and pickle. With French Fries!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think a lot of Americans just aren't content with anything that seems 'bland', so we try the next thing that is 'different', or spicy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I worked with some people from Iran, and commented that not a lot of people from Asia are overweight. His response was that American food is so very tasty, he could understand why we eat so much! He gained weight, once he was here. Not such a good thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Joyous56

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Burger King has plenty of stores in the UK, as does McDonald's, KFC, Subway, and a plethora of other American fast feeders.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Please, please don't hold up fast food as the very model of American food. Happily, Harters know it isn't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, no! Fast food hamburgers do not represent us well at all! But some of our local establishments do make a fine ground steak burger, with toppings from hot sauce to bleu cheese. Not too healthy for a daily diet, but once every month or two, they are a real treat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          For your amusement.....here in Rochester, NY, we have the dubious distinction of being famous for something called a 'Garbage Plate', which consists of two cheeseburgers or hot dogs, on top of macaroni salad baked beans and french fries....topped with ketchup and mustard, and a ground meat based 'hot sauce'. I have never had one, but it is apparently a favorite among young folks after a night of imbibing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Joyous56

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'd have to have been imbibing pretty hard to even consider that mess.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It's a difficult thing to judge national cuisine as a tourist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Almost inherently, tourists visit tourist areas. So, Britons holiday in Florida and come back with stories about how cheap places like Dennys are and how the portions. Similalry, a look at Chowhound's UK board suggests that few American tourists venture outside of London and, even then, don't even venture outside of the central area of the city. City is full of not very good restauants (and some outstandingly good ones)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Joyous56

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Joyous (love your screen name BTW)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have these exact beans average about twice a month. from watching way too many English cooking
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    shows and viewing a lot of Antony (last name escapes me) these are the beans used on toast&I've become very fond. yep pretty bland&not real tasteful, but my BBF's grandma served 'em up&I'd not doubt her ever -
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was a bit shy of her ;:-/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm so glad you like these beans! I really do love trying new things, but the Heinz beans just didn't do it for me. The tomato sauce didn't seem robust enough....kind of 'raw'. But we all have different tastes, and I think it's just best to eat what you like. Who is entitled to judge anyone else on what tastes good to them? Life is too short not to eat what you like!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Not nearly as good as spaghetti on toast. With canned Heinz spaghetti, of couirse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: emu48

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm with you on that. I also like to squeeze a little ketchup (Heinz of course) or HP sauce on top,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Paprikaboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What is HP sauce? Is it like worcestershire sauce?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In the US, there has been a big movement against canned or processed foods. We're encouraged to cook with fresh fruits, veggies and meats. Of course, this can get expensive, but I suppose it is healthier than canned beans or spaghetti.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Personally, I love canned sardines on triscuits, with a little diced onion and mustard....but that's another subject.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Joyous56

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          HP sauce is a brand of brown sauce. Like ketchup but spicier and traditionally served with cooked breakfasts. HP's not as good as it was since they reduced the salt and it seems not as spicy to me,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't eat spaghetti on toast all the time, maybe 3 times a year but it's a nostalgia thing and sometimes it's what I want. I'm in the UK but sometimes even we've been known to cook meals from scratch using fresh ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Paprikaboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It's not exact, but HP (much-loved at my house, especially after Mom's frequent work oop norf) is somewhere in the center of a circle drawn around ketchup, Worcestershire, and A-1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Joyous56

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            HP is a bit like A1 sauce, in my opinion. I don't like ketchup, but do like HP. It also comes in different flavours, like Fruity, BBQ and a steak version. It has dates and tamarind in it, as well as tomato. I usually have it with a Cornish pasty, or any kind of meat pie, inc. a Scotch pie. All supermarkets have their own brown sauce version of HP. There are also competitors, in particular Daddies, which I like very much, spread on buttered granary toast, and then topped with cooked tomatoes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sheffield, Yorkshire has their own version, Henderson's Relish, which is a bit runnier, more like Worcestershire sauce and hard to find outside that area. It's also vegan as it doesn't have any anchovies in it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I'm amazed that this thread seems to be continuing after 8 years or so. Thanks for all who have brought me up to speed on British breakfasts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And yes, I occasionally have beans for breakfast (Bush or B&M, not Heinz) with eggs, hash, etc., but I still don't think toast adds any special cachet to them. To those who do, thanks for your responses as well. It points out how varied human appetites can be!