Where Has It Bean?

I had a rather pleasant fry-up at the Farm in Clifton yesterday. One of the things that made it especially pleasant was them serving the baked beans in a little dish. And sitting there eating my meal, I mused on how their choice to corral the beans might represent a fitting guide for moral behaviour.

I like baked beans. They are not my favourite vegetable, but I do like them.

I like unsullied toast. I don’t refuse to eat it if it isn’t, but I prefer a slice that is either dry or lightly buttered.

The standard layout for a fry-up is everything on the plate: sausages, bacon, eggs, toast, and a lake of beans free to shift as they will. Therefore, a significant proportion of fry-ups reach me with the toast already soaking up bean juice; either because it was placed in it to begin with, or because it has spread.

Swift rearrangement and the use of sausage barriers might mitigate further issue, but the toast is often beyond the point I can have it as I wish. And that also forces me to have bean juice on my sausages.

However, placing the beans in a pot prevents the spread of juice across the plate. So my toast is toasty, rather than partially soggy.

Clearly, this makes the meal more pleasant for me, but why do I consider it a microcosm of moral choice?

Some people like to wipe up the bean juice, egg, sauce, and whatever else with their toast. But nothing about serving the beans in a pot stops anyone from soaking their toast if they wish; the customer is free to pour the beans over their toast. No one is forced to have beans on their toast, though. Which is where the wider moral guide comes in.

If you have a choice between two situations, choose the one that doesn’t take away someone else’s choice.


5 thoughts on “Where Has It Bean?

  1. I don’t think we have “fry-ups” in Canada; at least, that’s not a familiar culinary term here. One may obtain meals consisting of sausages, bacon, eggs and toast, but I have never seen this combination accompanied by baked beans. But I definitely concur that keeping the beans corralled in their own vessel would be preferable.


    1. There are many variations, regional and temporal, on the plate of fried meats, egg, and such in the United Kingdom; fry-up is a fairly common label for the group based on each of them containing a significant proportion of pan-fried food.

      The recipe for baked beans is different in different countries (for example, US baked beans have a higher sugar content) so Canadian baked beans might not be flavour balanced to go well with fried pork.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. The WHO advisory has been somewhat misrepresented. The original document is about whether processed meats can cause cancer, not whether they are likely to. And it only applies to a specific form of cancer.

          While some chemicals in cooked bacon and some chemicals in cigarettes both do increase the risk of cancer, the increase in risk is vastly different; so the Bacon as Dangerous as Cigarettes headlines are a somewhat hyperbolic.

          Not that replacing the meat portion of more meals with pulses isn’t sensible for a great many reasons, both health and environmental.

          Liked by 1 person

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