The Right Reds

Most people claim I’m an old ass who’s quick to fuss about any damned thing in the world. Let me confirm that accusation by pointing out that when cooking New Orleans-style red beans most people insist on using the wrong beans.

Yes, that’s right. Instead of honest-to-goodness red beans, most people—even most vendors—use kidney beans, which are—yes—red, but they aren’t the right red. You’ll see small kidney beans marketed as red beans all the time; even the Camilla brand red beans are kidneys, as are those used by the Blue Runner people.

However, most markets in the mid-South will have honest-to-goodness red beans sold simply as red beans. If you look at the ingredients, you’ll find “small red beans,” not kidneys as you’ll find on the Camilla package or on the Blue Runner label.

Wave me off and say there’s only a whisker’s difference between the two, but it’s crucial; a matter of veracity, refinement, and taste.

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