Bumblebee Stew Could Be #Vegetarian Could Be #Vegan

No bumblebees were harmed in the making of this stew. I think I’ve posted this before, and I probably led with that same line. But it’s a good soup.

Bumblebee Stew

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (or part of a can, or some frozen) corn, drained.
  • 1 can tomatoes with green chilies, NOT DRAINED
  • water
  • bouillon (this was chicken, but Not Chick’n or vegetarian would be fine)

Bung ’em all together and simmer them until the flavors, as Huckleberry Finn says, get all swapped around. Add salt to taste. I also added some Penzeys Cajun Style Seasoning. This is topped with cheddar cheese, but it would be good with vegan “cheese” or none at all. Also good served over rice.




I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Bumblebee Stew Could Be #Vegetarian Could Be #Vegan

  1. Michael Hodges

    March 22, 2022 at 8:28am

    Bees, bees! The musical fruit!
    The more you eat, the more . . .

    Hang on, that’s not it. I’ve got the right words tucked away somewhere . . .

    Bees, and Chinese.
    The connection, all silly in my own head, happens much more quickly than it takes in the telling. It’s certainly more than a rhyme.

    Kij Johnson, one of my favorite authors, has a volume of her short stories At the Mouth of the River of Bees. The title story is rambling and involved, and poignantly magical. You should read it, it’s the proper sort of magic and I don’t want to offer a spoiler. So suffice to say that as my old dog, nearing 13 years of faithful, big-ol’-dummy age paces anxiously around me in his dotage, there’s a connection which is instantaneous.

    Also, as an aside, title story may or may not be the correct term, but the Googles are less helpful than they once were and my patience with them has worn dreadfully thin. These days I find I prefer to just make up a thing and run with it. Even as I type those words I wonder whether I shall be senile, ranting and pissing myself in a nursing home, or simply exercising my creative bent and pissing myself in a nursing home. Also, a good story would be a young author whose success grows from his time before fame, spent in a nursing home as an aid, basing his tales on the ramblings of a wizard trapped in our world.

    So: Bees, and Chinese.

    I remember hearing as a child that the Chinese had a saying:

    When you save another’s life, you become responsible for them.

    I remember (and as so many statements go with the aging, I remember, I remember, I remember . . ) upon hearing that, I believe in third grade, and then later in 9th during my faux poetic-cum-thoughtful teens, so that I tried to lend it powerful meaning, really just imagining a hero who saved some bumbler . . . a bumbler-bee? . . . and then was burdened/fettered forever more with the awkward and unfortunate presence of this ridiculous arse-wipe.

    In retrospect, that makes sense. At that age my humanity was painfully dying under my father’s brutal care. I believed myself the bumbling, ridiculous arse-wipe, of neither consequence nor value. Hmm . . .

    Anyway, that’s what I imagined with regard to the saying. But you know what? I was a dumb kid, and I was wrong.

    I swear, there’s a point here. It’s still bees, and Chinese.

    My old boy, Buck, is a yellow dog.

    “What kind?”

    A YELLOW dog. Perhaps I wasn’t clear the first time.

    “I meant what br—”

    Shhhhhhhh . . . Buck showed up at work one day while I was outside on a smoke break with friends. I never smoked, but I learned long ago that others seemed to get company-blessed breaks to which I was simply not privy, so I officially smoked despite that a cigarette never touched my lips.

    As we stood there chatting, a small, round-bellied puppy showed up on the other side of the fence and began to whine. He seemed desperate to get to us and nearly wedged himself in a gap in the fence. Once he made it through, of the five people there he was utterly focused on me, swirling and twisting and turning through my legs, gazing up all the while.

    I picked him up, all wriggly six or so pounds of him, and was “just looking, I don’t need a dog” when the little bastard (trust me on this terminology, a female is a bitch but a male is not a sire, he’s a dirty, rotten, manipulative bastard) licked me on the nose.

    Uh-oh. I mean really, uh-God-damned-oh.

    And so the years have passed, spent with so much dog hair in my drink.

    Buck barks at the wrong times, usually. He’s certainly peed his inappropriate share, although as he aged the inappropriate nature diminished. He’s greedy in the way of all dogs when it comes to the people-food he’s not supposed to eat, insanely jealous of the attention other family demand of me, and it’s all okay when that head rests on my knee and those warm brown eyes see me as God.

    I wish I was even a quarter the man my dog believes me to be, I surely do.

    And as senility is taking him, as his arthritic legs ache and he sometimes whines with pain, limping about and eating cheese-wrapped meds morning and night —

    . . . as some days I think it’s too much for him, but then it’s sunny and warm so that his bones ache less and he smiles and trots a little in the fresh air . . . the good days, you know

    . . . as he paces in the night, anxious with fears I don’t entirely understand, staring at the wall as though seeing ghosts I cannot quite see, while I try to comfort him and then walk away, glancing back to see him staring once more at the wall and vistas beyond my ken

    . . . as I sit trying to write and he’s awake, noisily thumping and pacing around me because it’s still dark outside, and he wants out, and he wants back in, and he wants out, and he wants back in, and I CANNOT catch my momentum because DAMN it Buck, will you STOP —

    I read a writing prompt about bees, and I think of a story title, and I think of a Chinese saying while torn between skyward glances of frustration and memory-vision of adoring, so very warm brown eyes that see God in my utterly flawed being.

    And I remember that I am responsible for someone.

    And I also think of my poor son.

    At a time in my life when my marriage and my career were literally killing me, I stayed focused on my son. Through midnight feedings I had to handle alone, through a million-million messy diapers, through sickness and health and the sour, pungent scent of vomit, through medical emergencies . . .

    But also through so much laughter, so many hugs, so many school conferences, so many road trips just driving and talking and listening to music, my son saved my life. My son saved my life in a way I hope he never has to fully understand.

    Because one day I shall be pacing, nervous, staring at the walls and wanting out into the yard, not remembering why but enjoying the sunshine on my upturned face.

    And so I shall continue to offer a faithful yellow dog his good days for as long as I am able.

    When you save another’s life, you become responsible for them.

    It would be nice to be afforded the same, not tucked away as an inconvenience and forgotten by the one who saved my life.

    In that yard where I wander, I hope there are bees, because I like bees.

    I hope there is a river of bees with a miracle at the end, because I am rather fond of miracles.

    And I should love a strange and beautiful road trip with my son, a road trip no one else has to understand because it simply is in the way bees simply are, and road trips simply are, and miracles simply are.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      March 22, 2022 at 11:43am

      Book ordered. Thank you for the recommendation; I can hardly wait to read it! Any author who impresses YOU is an author I need to read. <3

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