I do it almost every time. I know better, but the temptations come. I get it in my head that something extra should be added to my pot of pinto beans. I think a little onion. A little garlic. A little bacon. The truth is none are needed.
I love the pinto bean’s earthiness. It’s plumpness when cooked. It’s toothsomeness. I know better than to add salt before the end; it toughens them. I am more liberal about other bean-preparation warnings, including cooking them in the water in which they have soaked. I believe the overnight water contributes flavor.
But I sometimes succumb to the temptation of overpowering additives like garlic or onion. Those I always regret. Oh, maybe a little bacon, but far less than you might think.
In my bean book, good water and a little salt are all you need to prepare and preserve the earthy glory of the noble pinto. Spooning them into my mouth, pot liquor under my nose, I could be lying in the loam of Dove Creek, Colorado, “Pinto Bean Capital of the World,” nutrients tingling in my roots, sun warming my dappled hide.