So I recently found something pretty cool, it's called the Ark of Taste (link). Basically, what it is, is a list of endangered foods, either because of their extreme regionality, or because their production is known to a limited group that's likely to die off any day now and take their knowledge of food production with them. Now to someone like me, who takes food very very seriously, this kind of list is a godsend. There were times in my life where I would try anything once. Now that I eat kosher it does limit the things I can try, but as long as it's not pork, shellfish, or buttered beef, I'll still probably give it a go.
Imagine my excitement when I discovered there is a local source for one of the items on that list! And that source is the hardware store! That item is Jacob's Cattle Bean, something everyone here tells me is common as water. I guess, in Maine, people use JCBs all the time, but, regardless of how well known it is around these parts it's still on the list!
So here is my proposition to my readers. If you can procure for me any one item from the Ark of Taste, or, if you are feeling really adventurous, something from the International Ark of Taste (I'm not entirely sure of that list's authenticity, but I can't find the international list on the Ark's website), and then send it to me I will in turn send you a bag of rare beans.
There are three rules to this exchange:
1. There must be some indication that the product you are sending is the product you claim it to be. Now a lot of the items are manufactured so that should be easy, but for the produce and meat and herb items it might be a little bit more difficult. I don't require a lot of proof, something written on the bag will probably be enough.
2. There has to be a decent quantity of it. This will obviously depend on what, exactly, is being sent, but I think it should be easy enough to follow. No sending me one peach and expecting a few servings of beans in return (unless it's that rare peach with a ruby pit). Obviously, if you have a rare turkey you want to trade for beans I don't expect you to send me a dozen... hell something that big probably a couple of drumsticks will do. I think that there won't be any problems here.
3. As I mentioned above, I'm kosher, so what does that mean? Well, pork and shellfish go right out the window. I can only eat mammals that have cloven hooves, which pretty much limits me to cows, sheep, goats, deer, and the like. Fish and fowl are pretty much good throughout except I can't eat raptors, but I don't think anyone does so no worries. Reptiles and amphibians, no. Insects and other bugs, no. Any milk product that contains meat, no. All vegetables and fruit are A-ok. Cheeses are great. I dunno, ask me if you have any questions.
So I figure some of you might be looking at that list and thinking "Like I'm really going to send this guy some bison steaks for a bag of beans." That's fair. I see it as a way to encourage people to try something they normally would never have because they don't live in the 10 square miles where it's available, I'm not offering this to try and score some expensive goods. I would trade the beans for a packet of spices as eagerly as I would for a box of pullets. I mean, you really gotta want to try some new beans to actually go through with this plan, but, if you're like me, the prospect of trying a food that is made exotic by it's scarcity... well maybe there's someone reading this right now who's as curious as I am about these beans.
And no, I haven't tried them yet myself, sorry, but I do plan on it. Apparently they are great to cook in "bean holes", but, probably not a lot of those right now.