The Musical Fruit--A Confession

No Cheddar cheese on my refried beans, thank you very much. It’s not that I dislike Cheddar, but would you put chile salsa on Beef Wellington? So why put an Anglo-American cheese on my Mexican beans, pray tell?

You will see refried beans in a whole new light when you top them with authentic Mexican cheese. Take, for example, Cotija cheese. It is a white, salty, crumbly, and frankly, stinky cheese that smells of dirty socks (By the way, did I mention that it is delicious? To think that I detested it as a child—ay, ay, ay, what I was I thinking?) When you top creamy refried beans with Cotija cheese, they complement each other so perfectly that you will forget about Cheddar. If Cotija does not thrill you, not to worry. There are other Mexican cheeses to delight your palate (more on that in a later post.) Then you will understand why so many adore beans even if they are full of Vitaminas P-2 (Peh′-2dos—“Fart Vitamins”).

Now that we are on the subject, how can one prepare beans without causing us to sound off a flatulent note, even if it does smells like a rose? Some claim that soaking them overnight, tossing out the water, and starting again with fresh water will do the trick. I have found, though, that this washes away some of the flavor and that beautiful red-brown color. Others say adding a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) to the water while the beans are cooking helps, but I have never tried it myself.

Generally speaking, those of the male sex absolutely love the musicality of beans. Not content to toot alone, some tíos impart their appreciation to the next generation of bean lovers. With all the confidence of an orchestra conductor waving his baton, they tell an unsuspecting little nephew, "Here, Estebanito, pull my finger." Then we hear a loud blast that reminds you of trumpets heralding the arrival of the matador when he steps into the bullring. The life of that little boy will never be the same—and neither will the smell in the house.

Being only human, it is inevitable that on occasion one will have an “accident” now and then, especially when all are together eating beans at a family fiesta. If this happens to you, and your brother-in-law accuses you of polluting the atmosphere, do this: With an arched eyebrow and a stern gaze, act as though he has done irreparable harm to your oh-so-delicate feminine dignity. Then, with a heavy sigh, turn away without responding to his malodorous remark. Everyone will think that it was he who befouled the air and not you. Now you can smile, if only to yourself. No need to confess your sin, certainly not to that pedito—little fart--of a brother-in-law.
Musical Refried Beans
What you need:
A pot or skillet, depending on how much you are planning to prepare.
A slotted spoon
A potato masher
Cooked pinto beans with broth. (Click here.)
Pork lard, or, bacon grease, or, corn oil, or even a little bit of butter
Cotija or other authentic Mexican cheese
Salt to taste
Take the pot or skillet and over medium heat melt 2 to 3 tablespoons of lard, bacon grease or oil depending on your taste. Add more if you are making enough for a crowd. Using the slotted spoon, scoop up as many beans as you need and put them over the melted fat. Mash the beans using the potato masher until you reach the consistency that you prefer. Some prefer their refried beans mashed to a thick paste, others prefer a lighter touch—the choice is up to you. If you find that the beans are too thick, dilute with some bean broth. Salt to taste if necessary. (Variation: In Sonora State, they put a little milk in their beans, which makes them very creamy. Perhaps you’d like to try it one day.)
Put the beans in a large serving bowl. Just before serving, remember to top with some cheese, even if it is Cheddar, and sit back and enjoy the “music”.


Swati: Sugarcraft India said...

Thank you so much for your lovely words..You have a really wonderful blog and will surely be back for more!!

crystalgee said...

hahah, i agree...beans with cheddar? no way! i love sprinking mexican cheese on top; i wouldn't even imagine using cheddar. I know what you mean about the cheese being stinky too, as a little kid, i wouldn't touch the stuff... and to be honest, to this day, the smell still does drive me away sometimes, haha. i prefer Casero. i think that what's called. but anyway, glad you liked my post. have a good day! =]

zanysandy said...

Haha, ha! I am litterally in tears from laughing so hard about your "Musical Beans" recipe. I know my family is probably wondering why I am laughing so hard. This is my first time at your website and absolutely LOVE reading everything here. You have a great writing style and it makes me laugh as you mix a little humor in. This seems to be, in my opinion, of course, one of the best places to find authentic mexican recipes. Thank you for all of your hard work that you obviously you put into your website. I will definitely come back for more!

Clementina said...

Hola, Zanysandy!
wow! Did I really write that? boy, it seems like a million million million years ago! i haven't been in touch with my funny bone lately, but I will certainly try!
Thank you for liking my blog and come back soon.