Health, Food and Human History: Grains and Beans

28 Jul

One thing that fascinates me to no end is the history of food and human civilization. Throughout history, humans have been developing ways to cultivate and prepare food, sometimes for flavor but more often than not, it seems, for nutrition, digestion and preservation. What I find difficult to get my head around, is the idea that thousands of years ago, humans figured out food combinations that had the most nutritional value. Beans and grains, for example, often form a complete protein when paired together. In the Americas, beans and corn has been a popular combination for thousands of years. Beans, containing all of the amino acids but the one contained in corn: methionine.

Below are some interesting links containing information about the history of these foods as well as recipes:

Mother Earth News: Pinto Beans and Corn

Food Reference: Beans

Veg Paradise: Corn, The A-Maize-Ing Grain

I’ve also put together a recipe of my own. Sausage and Mushroom Succotash.

Sausage and Mushroom Succotash

  • approximately 2 cups cooked beans (I used kidney, navy and yellow eye)
  • approximately 1 cups cooked posole
  • 1 or more large white onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 large Lion’s Mane mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 large sausages, browned and sliced
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook the beans are directed on the package – or fully cook fresh beans. Cook posole as directed (both of these, if from dried form, soak overnight and cook until soft.) Set both aside. Brown sausage in skillet with a little olive oil. Remove when done and brown garlic, onions and mushroom in the same pan. Chop sausage however you like and add to the beans. When onions and mushrooms are done, add to bean mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Fresh corn can be used instead of posole. The fresh corn can be cooked with the onions and mushrooms. In general, the ingredients can be mixed up, more mushrooms, less beans – it’s really up to you. But it is a tasty and healthy dish.

For a vegan option, leave out the sausage and cook lots of Lion’s Mane (or your favorite) mushrooms. When sliced and sauteed, they brown nicely and have a very meaty texture.

Serves: not sure! As a main dish, probably around 5. Also great for leftovers.


2 Responses to “Health, Food and Human History: Grains and Beans”

  1. lisadeb1989 July 28, 2008 at 2:13 pm #

    What a wonderful post! i’m into legumes and have taken a serious turn toward all natural & organics. We’ve started a veg & herb garden and are loving it. I’m also on a serious campaign to stop and/or reduce the need for medications and have embraced natural alternatives. I’m especially excited about this acai premier fruit juice. WOW sums it up.
    Have you ever heard of “barley water?” I’m interested in checking this out too.

  2. Veronique July 28, 2008 at 2:30 pm #

    Maybe the bean and grain thing was a selection process. The people who had beans and grain to eat would have been healthier, lived longer, and reproduced more. People with less effective combinations available, or who did not eat beans and grain combinations for whatever reason, had poorer health outcomes and less reproduction.


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