Spilling the Beans

Credit Krista Madsen

Credit Krista Madsen

Donald Trump, move over.  I have truly perfected the Art of the Deal. While my deals may not be in the mega-millions, they’re big in my eyes.

Take my bean deal, for example. A few years ago, Stop and Shop was promoting a $1.00 per item refund on selected Rienzi brand foods, including canned beans. The best part? The beans were on sale for 99 cents.

Late that night, I hightailed it to the bean aisle and emptied the shelves of pintos, garbanzos, kidneys, white Navys, blacks and chickpeas. Thank God none of my neighbors were there.

The cashier looked at me quizzically as I lifted my load of legumes onto the conveyer belt.

“I’m planning a big party,” I explained, shrugging. “Chili cook-off. We have it every year.”

“Uh, you have a credit of twenty cents,” the cashier responded.

“Really? Well, what do you know?” I remarked as I triumphantly took the change. Hah! They paid me to buy their beans – suckers!

I repeated this bean buying bonanza every night for the entire week.  When I was done, I had 200 cans of free beans stashed in my basement and an extra $2.00 stashed in my piggy bank.

I showed my prized beans to my husband. He was dubious. “What are we going to do with all these beans?” he asked. “Eat’em!” I responded a bit defensively. “Beans don’t go bad, you know,” I added.

My kids thought it was cool to have a mini supermarket in their play area.

“Wow mom! Can we make a bean fort?” my son asked. “Sure,” I replied. “How ’bout a hill of beans? You can be a bean counter, too! Ha ha…  get it?”

It’s a food. It’s a toy. It’s a food and a toy. Chevy Chase would be proud.

My kids began to show off our massive bean collection to their friends. They all thought it was really cool, especially the part where my son would chime, “And get this: My mom didn’t pay anything for all these beans! In fact she made two whole dollars!”

“Wow!” they’d murmur. “It’s a secret, though,” I warned them. “Whatever you do, don’t tell your mommy, OK?”

I made egg and bean burritos for breakfast. I made baked beans for lunch. I made five-bean chili for dinner. I learned to make my own hummus. Ever so slowly I made a dent in the bean cans.

Six months later, my creative capacity for cooking with beans gassed out. “Maybe I got a little carried away,” I admitted to my husband one day, as we stared at our stockpile.

“Nah! We’ll eat them all eventually,” he replied.

I hope he’s right.

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