Beans on Toast Is the Secret to Converting Legume Haters


Parents love to share war stories of the obviously delicious things their children refuse to eat (such as freshly baked apple pie in a flaky buttery crust, in my three-year-old daughter’s case). Then there are the foods they ask for (a “shandwich” the same child requested for lunch) only to flat-out decline moments later (“I no like shandwiches”). We joke about how impossible it is that we could create a human being who doesn’t like hot dogs or tater tots, but I would like for the sake of this story to boldly go where I don’t think enough essays about feeding kids have gone before: I want to own my children’s pickiness.

Guys, I was a picky eater as a kid. I didn’t like meat. I didn’t like cooked green vegetables. I didn’t like eggs. I didn’t understand the purpose of cheese on things that weren’t, say, pizza. I’ve come around to all of those and then some; for me, learning to cook things the way I wanted really helped, but mostly I just grew out of it. Perhaps my kids will too.

Of course, the idea that they might one day love the dinner they’re currently despondent over is little consolation when I’m wiped out on a Tuesday night. We all need a simple, efficient meal but have different ideas about what constitutes one.

Before I had kids, I often turned canned beans into dinner by tossing them with pasta, making a quick soup or salad, or schmearing them on toast with a fried egg. I could still turn them into almost anything… if my kids would let me. But like their picky mom before them, they haven’t taken to beans outside of chili, and even then, hesitantly. We even ended up taking them out of the mix entirely for a while.

The biggest breakthrough we’ve had in bean consumption was when I began treating them like pasta. A couple of years ago, I made a baked ziti–like dish in which I used jumbo white beans instead of pasta, cook- ing them in a vegetable-flecked marinara sauce, top- ping with mozzarella and Parmesan, and broiling until brown and bubbly. The kids were skeptical until I called them “pizza beans”—and lo, somehow this was the trick that finally got them to eat legumes for dinner.

picky eaters club beans

Illustration by Giacomo Gambineri

But for nights when we’re short on time, I like to take the best parts of the pizza beans—white beans, tomato sauce, greens, and garlic—and give them a speedier English-style beans-on-toast treatment.

A friend from the UK introduced me to this dorm-friendly delight in college. The “recipe”: Warm a can of baked beans and ladle over buttered toast. If you’re feeling extra, you can finish it with cheese.

For this weeknight-friendly toast, I make a one-skillet ragù with crumbled sausage, wilted greens, lots of garlic, as many red pepper flakes as we can pull off, and then canned white beans where we might other- wise add pasta. For the toast, I use slices of buttery garlic bread (the ultimate kid bait), and we finish it with Parmesan (because we are always feeling extra). It’s a bit more elaborate than the version I learned in college—it takes 25 minutes, not five—but it’s also a more rounded meal. It’s become such a hit that it’s gone into our permanent rotation—and I get to check another ingredient off the Never Feed Us This list. I call that a triumph.

Get the recipe:



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Second Cup converting 2 Alberta cafés to cannabis dispensaries, will review rest of chain


The Second Cup Ltd. says it has started a strategic review of the coffee chain company despite reporting improved financial results and is continuing on its plan to sell recreational cannabis.

The company says its board recognizes the need for the chain to continue to evolve and it now has the capacity to support a broader range of strategic alternatives thanks to a strengthened balance sheet.

Second Cup says there is no guarantee any avenues will be pursued as a result of the review.

The company says it is in the process of converting two Alberta stores to recreational cannabis dispensaries as part of its joint venture with National Access Cannabis Corp. that was announced in April.

It says many more locations in Ontario have been identified as attractive candidates for such conversions.

The stores would operate under the Meta Cannabis Supply Co. brand.

The announcement came as the company released its third-quarter earnings report, which saw its profit rise to $766,000 or four cents per share for the quarter ended Sept. 29.

That’s up from a $2.96 million loss or a loss of 19 cents per share for the same quarter the previous year.

Second Cup says its same-store sales grew 0.3 per cent in the quarter as it continues to add Pinkberry frozen yogurt to its locations.

It now sells Pinkberry at 84 Canadian stores and says the yogurt is an important contributor to overall sales and transactions.

CEO Garry Macdonald said food delivery apps UberEats and Skip The Dishes are also helping to drive incremental sales. 


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