My Favorite People, My Favorite Recipes, Steve Sando from Rancho Gordo
While 2016 has been challenging in many ways, it’s also, happily, been the International Year of Pulses (that’s dried beans). Long before the UN declared pulses worthy of their own year, Steve Sando was promoting them. For over a decade, Steve, CEO of Rancho Gordo and the author of three pulse-centric cookbooks, has been the acolyte for heirloom beans. He’s shown us beans go far beyond the basic white, black and red. Through him, I’ve discovered varieties like ojo de cabra (goat eye beans), flor de Junio (June flower beans) and Christmas limas. large, flat with their distinctive swirl of dark red and white, creamy texture and chestnutty taste. You gotta love ‘em. I do.
Sure, Rancho Gordo’s slightly cheeky logo is great fun, but the value comes from the heirlooms themselves and Steve’s dedication to preserving them. He reminds us of the power of diversity, whether it’s pulses or people, and that even the most seemingly simple food has the power to connect us to place and to each other.
As you cook these heirloom beans and other grains and ingredients, keep in mind that we have a common New World culture with Mexico and the rest of the Americas. What you are doing isn’t exotic and esoteric. It’s continuing traditions that are well-established for a reason. I think most of us who are immigrants to the Americas are staying, so rather than constantly trying to reproduce English gardens or European wine, it’s nice to know what’s from here and discover ways of incorporating these ingredients into your kitchen. New World food is exciting, tasty, healthy, romantic, and possibly, easier on the earth.
I hope you enjoy cooking with these Rancho Gordo products as much as I enjoy growing and presenting them.