Do you like beans? Then Joe Yonan’s new book, “Cool Beans,” which showcases the very best beans around the world and how to use them, is for you. Not a bean lover? Then this book is also for you, because it will convert you. Covering everything from straightforward but delicious everyday applications, like white beans and bitter greens on toast, to more esoteric—but no less delicious—recipes, like navy bean pie and pickled bean ceviche, this book is nothing short of a bean bible.

Christopher Kimball chatted with Yonan about all things beans on Milk Street Radio last week, and if you haven’t listened yet, you can tune in here. Get a taste of the interview from the excerpts from Yonan below, and listen to the full interview here on our website or on Apple Podcasts. Then, go nuts over beans, too!

On his early connection to cooking

When my parents got divorced, [my mom] was really upset to find out that she couldn't go to her beloved discount commissary on the Air Force base, where she was able to feed the family at a much lower price. She discovered this loophole, so every week she gave me a list and gave me cash. And we had a deal. If I could buy everything on the list and come in under budget, I could buy something for myself. So I had this little red hand counter clicker thing that I carried with me. I added up the groceries as I went because, of course, the last thing I wanted to do was not come under budget and not be able to buy something. But I also didn't want to be embarrassed and go over and have to put some things back. But what it did was really taught me how to comparison shop. I was deciding between brands, and when we got home, I pretty quickly then got interested in what happened to them in the kitchen.

On navy bean pie

This is something that in a lot of cities with a large Nation of Islam population you'll find sold on the street. They're really great. It's traditionally puréed navy beans, eggs, milk, sugar, butter, flour, spices. It's kind of custardy and really delicious. It's not something that you taste and go, “Oh, I'm eating navy beans.” I mean, it takes a little bit like a chess pie. In the book, I veganized it and turned it into this coconut cream bean pie, which is kind of fun.

On cooking vegetarian food

There’s a variety of textures in a piece of meat, when you roast it. I think people lost sight of the fact that they need to be thinking about that when they cook vegetables, too.

On boiled vegetables

I think there's place for boiling. It's fast. It can be delicious. I think people do get caught up in the most nutritious ways to cook vegetables, and certainly when you're boiling vegetables, a lot of the nutrition stays in the boiling liquid. But you can also use some of that cooking water in the dish. If you're boiling and then mashing something. You can reduce that liquid down into a glaze, too.

On cooking for one

I really feel that people need to realize that they're worth taking care of. I've always thought, if you're cooking for yourself, you don't have to answer to anyone else's palate or their mood or their dietary restrictions. You can kind of follow your own cravings, wherever they take you.

Quotes have been edited for clarity.

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