I had seen this product in the grocery’s refrigerator section, but I’d never bought it.
Then my vegan daughter told me the name doesn’t mean ONLY eggs, it means, like, righteous eggs. As in NOT eggs at all. It’s made from mung beans and has 5g of protein in a serving, so I was like, “Yes, please.”
Here’s one of the tiny, one-person omelets I made with it, containing vegan “cheese” and actual mushrooms.
And now, today’s story: [edit: I see, upon rereading, that I changed from third person to first person somewhere in there, probably when I stopped for breakfast. These things happen. Do you like the third person or the first person for this story?]
Beans For Breakfast
Hank settled onto his usual stool at The Baked Bean and poked listlessly at the menu. He knew it by heart.
“Anything new today?” he asked May when she came to take his order.
“Nope.” She tapped her pencil on her order pad. “What’ll it be? The usual?”
“Well, don’t do us no favors. If you don’t like the food, eat somewheres else.”
“Give me the usual. Hold the sass.”
“Crowd on a raft with an Easter bonnet,” she said, using her own diner slang for “baked beans on toast with a sunny-side-up egg on top”.
Two of his diner buddies slid into place on either side of him, slapped him on the back, and placed their orders with all the enthusiasm May could want.
The diner was full. As one of the few Earth-food eateries on Europa – one of the very few that a working stiff could afford – it was always full, standard Earth-count 24/7.
But the name said it all. The Baked Bean served baked beans. From a can, of course. You could get baked beans on toast, or baked beans topped with chopped onions, or baked beans with extra ketchup, or baked beans with an “egg” made out of God knows what that tasted like … well … not baked beans, which made it a treat.
My breakfast came, I ate it, and I came to a decision.
The high-ups didn’t eat baked beans. They had catered lunches, even on the docks, and you can bet May didn’t cater them. I’d seen the Harkner delivery trucks with the artificial gravity modules on top pull up at the executive delivery entrance. I’d seen Harkners, wearing weighted boots so they didn’t float away, and atmo masks so they could breathe our dome’s air, push out a whole cart of covered dishes. Weird, Europa being colonized by two planets with stronger gravity.
But my point is, the Harkners had the concession on fancy food. I wanted some fancy food.
I used my lunch breaks to scope things out. The Harkners brought the cart up to the door, and four Earth guys in blue coveralls took it from there.
I tried to make friends with one of the Earth guys, but he was all snooty and didn’t want to socialize with a working stiff. Lucky for me, he was the kind of snooty that wants you to know how special he is, and he told me everything I needed to know: The blue-coverall guys took the cart to the executive dining room and served the big-shots. They got to eat the leftovers, if there were any. And, oh! the food was wonderful!
A couple weeks of baked beans later, I had recruited three other guys to do the caper with me.
We bought used clothes in a thrift shop and made masks out of undershirts with holes cut out for our eyes and mouths. Stretch Pedersen slapped a lens cap over the security camera on the executive delivery door just as the Harkners got there with the cart. When the blue-coverall guys got the cart and the Harkners turned back to their delivery truck, we followed the cart inside. We didn’t want to hurt anybody, so we just pushed the blue-coverall guys down, tied their hands, and took off with the cart, peeling our disguises off when we were around the corner.
There was an abandoned guard shack not far away, left over from when the dome was smaller, and that’s where we took the cart. We could hardly wait to uncover those dishes. My hands were shaking.
Soup! There was soup! It looked kind of like pea soup, which isn’t my favorite, but it was soup.
The cart had silverware – it wasn’t plastic, anyway – and real cloth napkins on it, so we each took a bowl and dug in.
We looked at each other, mouths full.
Stretch said, “Mmmm!” and swallowed.
The rest of us just swallowed.
It wasn’t pea soup. I don’t know what it was, but it was cold and salty and somehow squiggly.
Everybody but Stretch put their bowls back.
There was a big platter and four small empty plates on the second shelf of the cart.
I took the cover off the platter.
There was a thing that looked like an octopus with a tiny blobby body and eighteen legs. The legs had been cut off but left in place, I guess so everybody could just get one. None of us got one.
The bottom shelf had four covered plates.
“C’mon! C’mon!” Stretch said, while the rest of us exchanged wary looks.
Each plate had what looked like a slice of chocolate cake on it, covered with brown sauce that looked a lot like fudge.
“Now you’re talkin’!” I said, handing them around.
The cake thing was spongy and oozed clear liquid when I cut into it with a fork. Even Stretch wasn’t interested in that.
Harkner food? Products of Europa? Don’t know, don’t care.
As soon as Stretch finished all the soups, we pushed the cart outside and slipped away, back to our jobs.
May added fried potatoes to her menu, so I’m just as happy as not.
MY WRITING PROMPT TODAY: Beans
Dan AntionMay 3, 2022 at 8:30am
The grass might be greener on the other side, but if it oozes…
Nice work, Marian!
Marian AllenMay 3, 2022 at 1:24pm
Thanks! Yeah, I don’t know what that “cake” was, but even I wouldn’t eat it!
Teagan Riordain GenevieneMay 3, 2022 at 11:44am
LOL, “Give me the usual. Hold the sass.” Terrific line, Marian. Thanks for the real-world product tip. At any time up until I was 40, if you’d asked me what foods I would never miss, eggs would have been at the top of the list. Then I suddenly became allergic to eggs… and later, sensitive to full-serving-size portions of soy. (That became clear when I learned how to make scrambled “eggs” from tofu.) Now, of course, I often miss eating eggs. I’ll look for this. Hugs on the wing.
Marian AllenMay 3, 2022 at 1:25pm
Thanks, Teagan! Any writing compliment from you is music to my heart. I hope you like the Just Egg. I haven’t tried baking with it, but it does a passable omelet and scramble.
RAAckerman@Cerebrations.bizMay 5, 2022 at 9:44am
I occasionally digest beans and cheese for breakfast. When I am tired of lox/cream cheese/bagel/tomato