My husband grew up with his New Mexican parents and grandparents, and as a result we eat a lot of New Mexican dishes: we transform dry pinto beans into burritos, and ordinary dough into homemade tortillas or mouthwatering Navajo fry bread. (I’m telling you, my mother-in-law is a culinary wizard, and she has passed down her delicious magicks to her son.)
One of the things you have to deal with when prepping dry pinto beans is sort them and make sure there will be no foreign substances in your burritos. My husband sorts them meticulously, pulling out any beans that look too yucky to be eaten.
My experiences with sorting dry pinto beans are different than his. My parents and grandparents are all Nebraska born and bred, so there was no Navajo fry bread in my childhood. My first job, though, was at a fast food “Mexican” place, which made huge batches of pinto beans in gigantic ten gallon vats. Since there was a lot to do, there wasn’t a ton of time to take out the beans that looked slightly wrinkly or weren’t precisely the same shape and color as the rest of the beans. You had ten minutes to sort the beans, and then you had to go help in the drive thru. I could sort through a ten pound bag in that time period, and customers would never be able to tell if I left one in that was a bit wrinkly or smaller than the rest. I was focused on making sure no kernels of corn or soybeans or rocks got dumped into the pot.
|A pile of delicious pinto beans on my kitchen counter waiting to be sorted|
It’s hard for me to watch my husband pick out weirdly shaped beans, because I can tell with a glance that there are no exotic ingredients mixed into our dry pinto beans. And it doesn't matter how it's shaped; as long as it’s a pinto bean, your taste buds won’t be able to tell the difference.
Besides, I’d be able to finish sorting a whole bag in ten minutes.