Robust and delicious, beans and field peas have graced the tables of southerners for generations, making daily appearances on vegetable plates, sideboards, and lunch counters throughout the region. Indeed, all over the world, people rich, poor, or in between rely on legumes, the comforting “culinary equalizer,” as Sandra A. Gutierrez succinctly puts it.
Her collection of fifty-one recipes shines a fresh light on this sustaining and infinitely varied staple of ordinary life, featuring classic southern, contemporary, and international dishes. Gutierrez, who delights with culinary history, cultural nuance, and entertaining stories, observes that what has long been a way of life for so many is now trendy. As the farm-to-fork movement has taken off, food lovers are revisiting the heirloom varieties of beans and peas, which are becoming the nutrition-packed darlings of regional farmers, chefs, and home cooks. Celebrating all manner of southern beans and field peas–and explaining the difference between the two–Gutierrez showcases their goodness in dishes as simple as Red Beans and Rice, as contemporary as Mean Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayo, and as globally influenced as Butter Bean Risotto.