UMass People's Market rice & beans recipe?
May 17, 2010 6:14 PM   Subscribe

UMass Amherst - between '90-'94 - People's Market: I used to get a plate of rice and beans for lunch almost every day for a couple of years from People's and I am CRAVING that exact dish hardcore. I remember brown rice, red wine vinegar as a condiment - but what type of beans and what was in them, if anything? IIRC, it was like $1.00.

God, I can just taste it and want this SO BADLY. It was totally bland, but so yummy and filling.

I think it might have been black beans, but is it possible they were cooked with NO spices? Were they lentils? You could get a big ass paper plate with scoops of each for like a buck, and it was awesome, if very boring.

Anyone else go to UMass back in the day, or work at People's, and know what the secret bean recipe was?
posted by tristeza to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
what color were the beans?
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 6:23 PM on May 17, 2010

moreover, what size and consistency were they?
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 6:24 PM on May 17, 2010

Response by poster: I can't remember!! Smallish, darkish, not too firm but not like refried beans.....arrrggghhhhh. I think either black or lentils. I AM SO HUNGREH
posted by tristeza at 6:28 PM on May 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Maybe a bland, vegetarian version of red beans and rice?
posted by signalnine at 6:35 PM on May 17, 2010

Smallish, darkish beans in Asian recipes are most likely to be black beans. They're surprisingly flavorsome little things. Start with those and tweak.
posted by flabdablet at 6:42 PM on May 17, 2010

This tip from the site I linked is spot on, too:

Regardless of cooking method, do not add any seasonings that are salty or acidic until after the beans have been cooked since adding them earlier will make the beans tough and greatly increase the cooking time.

That's good advice for any recipe involving pulses and boiling. Winter soups, for example, work much better if you don't salt them until the end.
posted by flabdablet at 6:53 PM on May 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Well...I'm not an alumni or anything, just Googling around. Could it have been Earthfoods rather than People's Market? I ask because the Earthfoods website has (cheap) rice and beans on the prices page. Specifically, black turtle beans, which are the same thing as the black beans listed above.
posted by cabingirl at 7:05 PM on May 17, 2010

Response by poster: OMG cabingirl, you may be right! Must consult with old peeps!!
posted by tristeza at 7:09 PM on May 17, 2010

The Earthfoods Cafe was founded on April 12, 1976. Did they sell at the People's Market? They have on their current menu:
Rice & Beans
We offer rice and beans daily. Our beans are usually black turtle beans, but sometimes we offer kidney or garbanzo beans. We serve brown rice. $1.50.
Maybe they'd give you their recipe if you contacted them. Failing satisfaction there, here is one of my own favourite bean recipes that you can try, from 'Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant':

Hoppin' John

Serves 6 to 8

4 cups fresh black-eyed peas
3 cups water
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup finely chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp butter or vegetable oil
pinch of ground allspice
pinch of cayenne
1 1/2 tbsp tamari soy sauce
plenty of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 cups cooked brown rice
1 large tomato, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup chopped scallions
chopped fresh parsley
(optional) sour cream or grated smoked cheddar cheese, if desired for garnish

Cook the black-eyed peas in the water and salt for about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain, reserving the liquid.

Saute the onions and garlic in the butter or oil until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the allspice, cayenne, and soy sauce. Stir this mixture into the cooked peas with enough of the reserved liquid to make it juicy and simmer gently for about 20 minutes to allow the flavors to marry. Stir often.

To serve, top the warm rice with the black-eyed peas and then the chopped fresh tomato, scallions, and parsley. Add sour cream (or plain yogurt) or grated smoked cheddar as well, if you like.

On preview, cabingirl thinks like me.
posted by unliteral at 7:10 PM on May 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

They have a facebook might be able to find someone who knows the recipe there.
posted by cabingirl at 7:11 PM on May 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

I don't know about the specific dish but as an alum I can clarify that People's Market was the store that sold coffee and bagels and so forth - and the hippie meal plan joint was definitely Earthfoods.
posted by moxiedoll at 7:12 PM on May 17, 2010

Ha - I was there at the time too and nearly lived on rice and beans from Earthfoods. For 75 cents you could get a "small" and for a dollar (dollar fifty?) you could get a "large". For fifty cents more you could get a side of greens. If you brought in your own container a large was enough for lunch AND dinner. I remember them being reddish beans and brown rice, though I think they did lentils sometimes too. I especially liked them with nutritional yeast. They really were almost flavorless, but I too find myself craving them occasionally.
posted by bendy at 7:18 PM on May 17, 2010

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