The Bean Salad Recipe Book, by Jon Wolper


Dee-licious! A classic. Buy some fresh green beans from the farmer’s market, grab some kidney and wax beans, add some vinegar, some oil, salt, onions, and you’re good to go!


Well, you’re ambitious. That’s fine, we can do four beans. Just take that recipe from above and root around through your pantry for some garbanzos. If you want to do a four-bean salad, you better have garbanzos. Soak them in the fridge overnight!


Now we’re really leaving our comfort zone. All right, we can do this. Deep breath. How about kidney beans? Wait, we’ve used those. Maybe try black beans? I mean, really, they’re just beans. We’ll get through this.


I mean, how differently can each bean taste? What are you trying to prove? The taste comes from the vinegar and the sugar, not from the canned stuff you’re probably dumping into that dirty bowl of yours. Could you clean that bowl, by the way? It’s unbecoming. Oh, for this one, add cannellini beans. Or don’t. It’s your life.


Pinto beans are next, I guess. Throw some of those in there, if there’s any room. Honestly, this is getting out of control. Your salad is frightening. Look at it! It looks like someone removed all the fruit from a fruitcake. I can physically see the vinegar stench. This is shameful. Seriously, quit while you’re ahead. There are no more mountains left to climb. Enough.


Wow. Dude, it’s time to stop. Are you familiar with the story of Icarus? Daedelus’s kid. Tried on a pair of wax-and-feather wings. Wings melted when he flew too close to the sun. Fell out of the sky, drowned, died. Do you understand what you’re doing right now? This is your Tower of Babel. What are you reaching for, anyway? Where do you hope these beans will lead you? Are you insane?


Don’t forget the cilantro, you sick fuck.


I…hate you. I hate you, and I hate your shirt. Your sideburns are too long. You’re not as smart as you think you are. Who are you going to serve this to? You haven’t spoken to your parents in a decade. Your friends have moved on, gotten married, had kids. They’re so happy without you. They make three-bean salads, like civilized human beings, and they love them. The simplicity is delicious. They sit on their verandas — you better believe they have verandas, every last one of them — and they savor each bite, because their bean salads are made with love, and joy, and an overwhelming sense of contentment and satisfaction, and with only three fucking beans. I bet you wish you had a veranda. Guess what? You don’t. And you never will. Go ahead, then. Keep building this fucked-up monument. You’ve lost it. I’m losing it. I’m losing it! I have to go.


Look, I’ve spoken to my boss, and we both think this is getting a little out of hand. I’ve said some things, you’ve said some things. We should both go outside, separately, get some fresh air, and regroup. Maybe pick up some celery while you’re out? Might help to balance the taste a little.


I want to help. I do. But this is starting to physically hurt.  Are you adding lima beans right now? Fucking lima beans? You’ve nearly reached the ceiling. You are scraping God’s toenails. Do you want to ascend to heaven on a stinky bean tower? Is that your end game? What do you think St. Peter will say if you get up there? Do you think he’ll accept a twelve-bean salad? This thing is inedible. It’s Frankenstein. It’s a meatless vortex of sadness. I can’t stop this. I can’t stop you.


Add kidney beans. Have you added kidney beans? That’s fine. Just add kidney beans.

Jon Wolper is a writer and journalist living in Washington, D.C. His writing has appeared on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency,, and several dusty corners of the internet. He tweets here.

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The Bean Salad Recipe Book, by Jon Wolper