It started simply enough, with a Slack message: “Gang, should we rank beans?”
That’s right: We came here to rank popular variations of this universally affordable, perpetually hoardable, shelf-stable staple from best to worst. Little did we know that this lark would nearly tear apart the City Pages staff.
Tremble at our might. Gaze upon the wreckage. See… how large we live.
1. Black Beans
Are black beans great? Of course! But really they claim the number-one spot almost by default because… no one has anything mean to say about them.
2. Refried Beans
Most people except your final bean collator here today love refried beans. Despite my thinking they’re “garbage,” these still get a pity silver today, just like Nancy Kerrigan in 1994, because as a colleague pointed out: “THAT IS A WRONG TAKE.” We concede they’re… edible.
3. Soy Beans
This one goes out to all the Midwest farmers in the house! Also, you may not know it, but you love soy beans. Don’t believe us? Try developing an allergy to soy and attempting to eliminate soy from your diet without getting super annoyed by all the foods you now have to give up because, like a ghost friend, soy has been there for you all along.
4. Chickpeas / Garbanzo Beans
Because very few people are making their own hummus right now, we’re content to blame Alison Roman for the recent increased demand, and pandemic-induced scarcity, of these bad boys. Not to be misunderstood: Chickpeas are ultra-versatile and super munchable. Sure, make that hummus, or toast them on a baking sheet with seasoning to be eaten by the fistful. And, fuckit, you should probably make this (incredible) chickpea and coconut stew with turmeric from Roman’s catalog, too. There's time.
5. Kidney Beans
Raw red kidney beans can poison you. They must be boiled for 10 minutes before consumption; cooked at less than a boil their toxicity doubles, fam. We appreciate their plucky nature—almost as much as a solid dish of red beans and rice.
6. Black Eyed Peas
Just like the band who stole their name, these little darlings tend to be, um, polarizing. Both have vocal defenders wont to reference the occasional bop. For the legumes, this looks like the portion of the nation who understands that no New Year's Day would be complete without this savory symbol of prosperity served first thing. We won't argue that, once a year, these are the best beans—full stop. Statistically? Those are bad odds, though.
7. Baked Beans
8. Green Beans
Who brought a vegetable to a bean fight? Go find a salad or something.
9. Lima Beans
Raw lima beans contain a compound that, when consumed, decomposes into hydrogen cyanide. That's deadly! Unlike their similarly toxic counterparts, kidney beans, cooked lima beans still remind us of a Great Depression food. Considering we’re currently in a burgeoning depression, no one has time for lima beans’ double-sided blade of flatulent bullshit.
Unranked: Navy Beans—no one on Earth has ever eaten a navy bean.
Think we got it wrong? Fight us! We’re packing protein power, and (clearly) out of our minds on beans.