One of my favorite weekend treats involves black-eyed peas. With a father from South Carolina, some of my earliest memories involve soul food. As a present-day vegan, I eat a lot of beans. That’s why I was disappointed to learn that Goya’s CEO, Robert Unanue, continues to be a big Trump supporter. Shame on you, Goya! Lest you get the wrong idea, we generally buy the store brand beans. Of all the legumes, however, it seems the humble black-eyed pea is difficult to get right. The generic brands always end up with the bottom part of the can being a kind of beige sludge where the beans have broken down and lost, as it were, their individuality. The dish I make (one of my own invention, also featuring grits and hot sauce) requires that the beans maintain their integrity—take note, Goya! Said brand seems to be the one that understands this aspect of canning beans.
For many years I avoided Bush beans for fear that they might be enriching the other *ahem* Bushes. Right now, however, I’d rather have W run for a third term than the specter of Goya-supported Trump. When did legumes become politicized? Why can’t I sit down to a peaceful Saturday morning breakfast without a hideous four-year nightmare coming to mind? The perils of being vegan! In any case, I recently tried Bush black-eyed peas. They weren’t as good as Goya, but I think I need to make the switch. I’ve never had my somewhat simple culinary tastes disrupted by a president before. Generic would be fine, but why, o why can’t they get the black-eyed pea right?
Perhaps somewhat oddly, I really like beans. There are about 400 varieties and each has its own personality from sassy edamame to staid kidney beans. I’ve even reconciled myself to the childhood nightmare of the lima bean (alien, without a hint of lime). Now, I’m no foodie. I eat to live rather than the other way around. Whatever I do, however, I search my conscience. Raised evangelical I know no way around it. My conscience is the main reason for becoming vegan—I can’t support animal cruelty, especially for an industry that is the largest environmental polluter in the world. So when I’m standing in front of the bean shelf, thinking ahead to Saturday’s breakfast, I’m struck with qualms. I stare at the black-eyed peas and they stare back at me. It’s a kind of test of the wills. I see the Goya and decide to try something better for the world.