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Dec 13, 2008 03:41 PM

Beans On Toast...?

Beans on toast are so omnipresent in all things UK that I figured there *had* to be something special about them. And they always say you *have* to make them with Heinz Baked Beanz (swear ta god, that's how it's spelled). So, when I was out for lunch at the faux UK pub in Burbank the other day (who have them on their menu as an entree, btw), I went next door to the minimarket that sells all things UK and found a can of the aforementioned Heinz, took them up to the counter, where the helpful clerk advised what kind of bread should be used (white), with "a bit of butter". Came back home and researched a little further online, where real UK foodies added their tips (shredded cheddar sprinkled on top and a little pepper added), and went to work.

Um, *really* underwhelmed. For one thing, all the English say that the Heinz Baked Beanz are so different from US baked beans that they simply must be used...I didn't think they were all that different. (Maybe a little more tomato saucy.) But the dish in its totality...meh. It'd do if I was starved, but suffice to say I'm not going to rush out to make them again.

Opinions? Did I do something wrong? Anyone else feel the same way? (I'm guessing that this is kind of a national extension of the phenomenon that makes Los Angelenos think that In'N'Out Burgers are manna from heaven.)

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  1. A bit of butter? Feh. Let it drip. The baked beans should be nicely warm too for extra melty goodness.

    1. LOL. I saw that topic and knew right off we were about to slag the Brits. I don't get it, either. Took me about a week to realize I was not going to be able to get a breakfast that didn't include beans. The real kicker, though, was the "fried bread." Dumb Yank here thought it was some kind of regionalism for French toast, pain perdu, whatever. Nope. It was plain, old...deep-fried bread. Chalk it up to a new cultural experience. Perhaps the affinity for beans at breakfast is something like the Hawaiian obsession with Spam. It just is.

      However, these are the culinary giants that gave us smoky bacon crisps. Gotta have me some of those real soon.

      2 Replies
      1. re: rockycat

        A "fried slice" is not deep fried. It is a piece of bread that is fried in a saute pan, after the bacon and eggs have been done, and in the hot bacon grease. Not a culinary masterpiece, by any means, but it compares favourably to other breakfast starches such as grits.

        1. re: KevinB

          I liked the fried bread when I ordered "cooked breakfast". Wasn't fond of the blood sausage, and was puzzled by the mushrooms, beans and tomato! Ate it all except said sausage, but probably wouldn't order it again if I go back to the UK.

          But I can tick it off my life list!

      2. Beans on toast is a rather bland but comforting dish. How could it not be? You have to use Heinz beans because American baked beans can be very sweet and has molasses which ruins this dish. And, as you noticed, it's in a tomato sauce and that's not right for New England baked beans. (The bread to serve with those beans is a brown bread)

        1. you have to add loads of brown sauce (HP or Daddies or OK).

          Beans on toast is just a Brit thing. Like Marmite.

          1. Many of our "comfort foods" don't make sense to someone tasting them anew...a lot of the appeal is their tradition and place in our hearts.

            I've had the beans on toast in New Zealand. Didn't excite me enough to look to repeat the experience, wasn't bad, just didn't float my boat...I suspect those not raised on grits would have a similar reaction to my comfy bowl topped with a little butter and salt!

            5 Replies
            1. re: meatn3

              I don't think even the most ardent Brit patriot would try to tell you that they're a classic. They're just a standard, quick, cheap and tasty comfort food, loved by kids and penniless students.

              It says on the tin that you shouldn't let them boil, but I like to put a heartstoppingly large chunk of butter in and lots of fresh black pepper and boil them down a little bit till the sauce thickens and darkens.

              1. re: paddydubai

                Exactly. Why the OP thought this was to be some culinary journey rather than dorm room food I'll never know. Perhaps if it could be supersized...

                You prep it the same way I used to. It's amongst the most simple of comfort foods when done that way.

                1. re: Googs

                  *culinary journey* hahah. Beans on toast is comfort food, nursery food, hangover food, it is not about an overwhelming culinary experience.

                2. re: paddydubai

                  Yup, when I was in elementary school in England bacon and beans on toast was the standard breakfast fare at my Canadian friend's house. It was something that we could cook w/out supervision. Still enjoy it occasionally when feeling nostalgic.

                  1. re: paddydubai

                    Exactly. Comfort food and a cheap and relatively nutritious snack. I quite like spaghetti hoops on toast as well.