Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ham and Beans

Subtitle- Why I Make My Kids Eat Poison

The other day I made Ham and Beans for supper. My family was not exactly enthusiastic. I didn’t expect them to be. I was okay with that. Here are some reasons why I did it anyway. No particular order, mind you.

Ham and Beans are a cheap meal. Super cheap! I already had a really meaty ham bone leftover from Christmas that I had frozen. A bag of beans costs less than 2 bucks. Salt, pepper and whatever other seasonings you want to throw in, you already have in your pantry. Make the whole bag of beans so you’ll have leftovers, unless your family devours them, for make-ahead chimichangas, etc. and you’re looking at stretching those $2 very far. If you need to be on a budget-tightening menu plan, ham and beans are for you.

Expanding the family’s palate is cheaper when you do it at home versus at a restaurant. You only have to put a small portion on their plate and pay the same compared to whatever a dish costs at a restaurant only to have them not eat 98% of it and still have a hungry kid.

Teaching your kids to eat what’s in front of them is much easier to do in your home than anywhere else. Besides the fact that it makes others uncomfortable hearing a kid get lectured about eating what’s in front of them, it saves the child the humiliation of knowing everyone else just heard his lecture and will now be watching to see if he complies.

It’s another chance for gratitude. Not just the “Dear God, thank you that Mom did not make ham and beans again.” prayer but gratitude for a lot of things.

A chance to practice not complaining. This is very closely linked to the gratitude thing.

A chance to praise your kids for not complaining, for eating it even though they didn’t like it, whatever.

A chance to do something they don’t like. Seriously. Make them grow up a little and try something new/hard. Make yourself grow up a little.

There is a very great chance that my kids may take a missions trip sometime or go somewhere where the food is not “normal”. I’d love for them to be willing tasters. In many cultures, food is a symbol of honor. Breaking bread together is a door to the gospel. A tribal man is honored that you are visiting them and has a goat slaughtered for a feast (which may have cost him any number of months of wages). It is not cool if one says “Hey, Mr. Tribal guy, I want to share Jesus with you but there is NO WAY I’m eating THAT!” You might as well pack up your Bible bags and head home.

On that point, ham and beans and butternut squash soup and other non-favorites may never be favorites, but after being in a different culture for a while, those things aren’t going to be so bad after all.

I’ve yet to lose a kid to new tastes.

I’ve had less than a half a dozen true “fails” in trying new dishes in 16 years.

You never know when something will be a hit. Quinoa, couscous and real (not instant) wild rice, for instances.

The family that farts, ahem… I retain the right to recant my stance on ham and beans at any gas-producing time.


Just ‘cause

My uncle taught me in one sentence that if I was going to complain, then go out in the kitchen in make my own d@*m meal! *gulp* (I didn’t even know how to start the gas stove!)

Which is all to say, I’m not trying to make my kids’ culinary lives miserable. Really. The ‘cause statements are statements of authority and trust. Since I’m the parent, I get the primary say and they are to be obedient and respectful of me. (I’m not making this up, it’s in Eph. 6.) I also get the responsibility of not abusing or exasperating my kids. (Also in Eph. 6) I don’t make out my weekly menu, rub my hands together and laugh an evil laugh while relishing the thought of squirming, gagging kids at the dinner table. Most of the time, my menus are full of the good stuff we all love to eat (though I could do without pepperoni for pretty much forever). When I throw a different one in there, its with these things in mind.

Finally, I must say that my kids are not there yet. I’ve yet to have them dance and celebrate the first time I mention ham and beans. Or say “Yippee.” Or even “Okay”. They may or may not have artfully pushed it around on their plates, feigning consumption. I’m okay with all of that. That’s what parenting is about.

porch beans cornbread 119

This picture is the PW’s Beans and Cornbread. Both were really easy to make and tasty.


  1. Oh boy. I understand where you are coming from...but I feel for your kids! I despise beans. Always have, always will. Along with peas. Yuck! It's an awful texture thing for me. But, you'd be proud....a friend made chili on Sunday for our movie night after connection group, and I ate my bowl full. I just added LOTS of cheese, and had 2-3 oyster crackers for each spoonful of chili. :)

  2. I grew up on ham and beans. My mother used northern beans. I'm not sure it was a favorite growing up but I have definitely been craving it as an adult. Maybe your kids will someday acquire these tastes into their more mature pallets and praise you for introducing them to it!!


Thanks for reading. Kind comments are always welcomed!