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Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012 03:00 pm

Black bean salsa


Much as I love them, I’d never thought of black beans as aphrodisiacal. But as long ago as circa 400 A.D., St. Jerome instructed his nuns to eschew black beans, because he believed black beans would seduce them to break their celibacy vows. Black beans are associated with fertility, a cycle that begins with the fresh bean nestling in its pod like a child in the womb and continues to the plump yet firm cooked bean as a symbol of a woman with child.

The Black Bean Salsa testers’ testimonial is perhaps less sensuous than some of the others; nonetheless it’s heartwarmingly romantic.

Martha Hopkins’ parents, Carlene and Turner, together 60 years as of March 2007 describe this salsa as “a very satisfying dish with an exotic flavor.”

Hopkins says, “I never like to hear of my parents’ love life. (Parents, as we all know, do not have sex. Especially ones who were missionaries for 10 years. No gratuitous sexual puns, please.) But the following description was tame enough to keep me from wincing.”

“Says Carlene, ‘It brought to mind Caribbean beaches and a romantic dinner for two under the swaying palm trees. This added romantic excitement to the evening.’ My [Hopkins’] father reinforced her quote with a grin and a wink.”

At 81 and 82 respectively, Carlene and Turner’s romance still lives. They breakfast together in bed or on their deck each morning. Though Carlene used to prepare it, Turner has recently taken over – his specialty is omelettes.

  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 c. canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 c. pineapple juice
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 c. chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 T. minced green chile pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine the ingredients, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Chill, covered for up to 2 days. Serve with tortilla or plantain chips.

Adapted from Intercourses. Used with permission.
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