One of the things I have really missed since being in the US, is a "Real English Breakfast". Of course once in England one of the locations I headed for was one where I could purchase a real "English Breakfast".
Americans seems to find it "interesting" to have bake beans for breakfast, but then this is a country that has "puffed up cakes" or muffins for their morning meal.
In England we are taught that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, after sleeping and not eaten for many hours. This being the case we have a "Full English Breakfast" which sees you though the day until your evening meal... except of course for a snack and a couple of beers at lunch time.
Baked Beans are part of the staple diet of people in the UK. Be it with a fry up breakfast, a "Bangers and Mash" lunch or on toast for tea. The old UK TV advert states...
"A million housewives every day, pick up a tin of beans and say..Beanz Meanz Heinz."
And basically that is what is does. While most of the supermarkets have their own brand of Baked Beans, Heinz is still the number one. For those colonials who do not know the difference, Heinz beans are closest to the Vegetarian beans in the US.
The Heinz company markets their product in the UK under the name "Heinz Beanz" (before July 2008 as "Heinz Baked Beans"), in reference to a 1960s advertisement campaign which used the slogan "Beanz Meanz Heinz".
There are substantial differences between the Heinz baked beans sold in the UK and the nearest equivalent US product (Heinz Premium Vegetarian Beans). The US beans contain brown sugar where the British beans do not, and the US product contains 14g of sugar per tin compared to 7g for the British version (equating to 140 vs 90 calories). The US beans have a mushier texture and are darker in color than their UK counterpart. For several years, the UK Heinz Baked Beans have been available in the US, either in different sized cans than those sold in the UK or in a 385 gram can (the same can as the 415 gram can in the UK) with an "export" label with American English spelling and the word "baked" dropped from the title on the label. These are sold in many US specialty stores.
In New England baked beans usually are sweetened with maple syrup, and are traditionally cooked with salt pork in a beanpot in a brick oven for a full day.
In southern states along the eastern seaboard of the US, the beans become tangier usually due to the addition of yellow mustard. Ground beef also becomes common alongside bacon in these beans. They take on a flavor similar to Cowboy Beans, a similar popular dish.
In Poland, with addition of bacon these are known as Breton Beans (fasolka po bretońsku).
Many unusual dishes are made with baked beans including the baked bean sandwich. These are slices of bread topped with beans and other additions, such as melted cheese.
In 2002 the British Dietetic Association allowed manufacturers of canned baked beans to advertise the product as contributing to the recommended daily consumption of five-six vegetables per person. This concession was criticized by heart specialists who pointed to the high levels of sugar and salt in the product. Some manufacturers produce a "healthy option" version of the product with lower levels of sugar and salt.
BE WARNED....Baked beans are known on occasion to cause a considerable increase in flatulence following consumption. (Don't we know it)
Their low price (The supermarket own brand or discount beans can cost as little and 30cents) and wide availability has led to baked beans becoming a staple food in the United Kingdom, especially popular among students and those on a tight budget.
BARRY EVA (Storyheart)
Author of Young Adult Romance/Fiction book
"Across the Pond"