better, study of - Pete Carapetyan's personal blog

Cooking Beans: Guy Experience

13 Sep 2010
Posted by Pete Carapetyan

Writing software can be tedious, so this weekend it was easy to get distracted by this recent drive to cook pinto beans.

[Note: I really need to submit this blog to some kind of contest for horrible writing. I'm leaving it up just to remind myself how ridculous I can be. The recipe linked here is great, though...]

Pinto Beans:

What is driving me to experiment with pinto beans? Must be something in my tissues or memories or connections has been making me want to do this for some time. In this part of the world great pinto beans are no fantasy - it's something you run into often.

So I googled up this guy's recipe, and it comes with a story of his grandmother feeding the family men who are working in the mines and dams and such. Adventurous, manly stories -  even one guy dying of black lung. Another family member smelting and smithing metals. Colorful, tactile background that makes the beans seem right. The visuals on his site are appealing too ("appealing" in this context is guy lingo for obscure), so this is the recipe I chose to try.

Plus, he's got lots of references to rebuilding old motorcycles on the same site. Can't be all bad.


I hate shopping, but then again, I'm supposed to hate shopping. I'm a guy. That's our job, to hate shopping.

Except for food for a recipe. Different, because now I'm on a conquest. It takes me about a week, because I have to figure out a way to do it without making extra trips - I stop at Central Market on the way home from a Java User's Group - so that makes it OK. And I had to go to Costco to get gas and the staples that I consume thoughtlessly every day. "Thoughtlessly" is a part of the guy experience.

Guy self image intact, I've got some decent ingredients, the tomatoes look good and ripe, and this is feeling like it's going to be an acceptable experience, no sissy stuff to drag me down.


Gotta soak it overnight. That's a cool experience too. Tactile. Making me think about the process. My male process oriented attributes are all intact, all is still good.

Had to rinse it out in the morning too. Hmm. Gotta choose a sieve, colander, something like that. Tools! Yeah, choosing between tools! I choose the sieve because it's small enough to go in the dishwasher. Calculations like that are important for a guy, that's how I keep the self image polished. I make decisions about tools.


Dude. This is a physical process. I like this part of the process.  Again, that tactile thing, the process of figuring out which way to execute each of these tasks.

Got it all chopped up. Life is good. Got to use the mortar and pestle thing to get all the oregano and cumin mixed in right. That's what I'm talking about.


I threw in beer instead of water. Can you see a pattern here?  It stank a little bit. It was a good stink. Minor enhancement to the experience: Check.


This is a very tactile experience too. Smells are going nuts. Plus I'm doing it in the morning so that has to be unexpected, all the onion and garlic smells wafting from the apartment. If you're going to be a guy and cook, you gotta be weird about it to keep the neighbors in the building slightly confused. Identity management is an important part of the guy experience.

I'm not even going to post anything about the result yet, because that's kind of an afterthought. I did like washing the tools, er pans I mean. That's what guys do in my world. It's a tactile process, it has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and it all resolves appropriately.


Took me about an hour to get it all cooked up dropped into the crock pot for a day of stewing. Of course, I had to time it. Timing things is what nerdly guys do. Part of the experience.

Now I get to make calculations about

  • value of the time spent,
  • whether I should have bought canned tomatoes,
  • value of product created
  • volume against costs of goods,
  • how much is my time worth,
  • what part of the tactile experiences make a good discount value.

Guy stuff. You know. It's all part of the experience. 

Back to work. That software I'm developing needs my attention. I'm ready.

Update: Substitutions 121211

Successfully made these changes/substitutions tasted pretty good

  • poblano pepper
  • no butter
  • less olive oil
  • beef bullion like broth
  • no chili pepper
  • dried tomatoes
  • brown sugar