The Saga of the Four Bean Salad

While strolling down the aisles of our local Costco, my eye was drawn, once again, to the jars of Four Bean Salad. Of course these jars were large. And it was impossible to purchase just one single jar. No, at Costco you almost always need to purchase two of anything. In order for me to taste this delectable side dish, I would have to make a significant commitment.

Therefore, I bi-passed the bean salad on numerous occasions. I gazed longingly, craving the combination of hearty legumes and piquant dressing, but believed the jarred salad not to be up to my stringent standards. You see, I try to eat only whole foods, unprocessed, containing no preservatives or additives.

And I avoid added sugar like crack cocaine. Here's an example:

"Would you care for a little crack cocaine in your coffee?"

Me: (Gasp.) Of course not!

Then, one fine day in June, I paused in front of the Four Bean Salad. I reached a tentative hand toward the shelf. And I lifted up the set of double jars. But I didn't have my glasses. And without my glasses, I am blinder than a blind cave fish.

"Darling," I passed the jars to my husband. "Can you tell me what's in this?"

He squinted at the label (he didn't have his glasses, either) and read the ingredients aloud. No sugar. No sugar? No sweetener of any kind? No, he assured me. None.

Well, those jars went straight into our cart. And as soon as we got home, the tasty treat went into my mouth. Delicious. Scrumptious. The best bean salad I've ever tasted. So flavorful. Just a tad bit spicy. Must have a bit of hot red pepper flake, I surmised.

Soon I was downing great heaping spoonfuls. Consuming cupfuls at a sitting. When I got to the bottom of the first jar, I chugged the leftover dressing. Heavenly. All the while, I was proclaiming to whoever happened to be near: "No sugar! Can you believe it?"

Well, I eventually picked up my glasses and confirmed my very worst secret fear. ACK! Not only was sugar listed on the label, but it was THE SECOND INGREDIENT! Each small, half-cup serving contained eleven grams of sugar. And I had not been limiting myself to half-cup servings of the stuff. Not by a long shot.

Although deeply disappointed, and highly suspicious of my husband, I had to admit I now had a serious problem. Addicted to Four Bean Salad, I headed straight back to Costco and purchased two more jars. No way would I quit. No cold turkey for me. Instead, I got my whole family hooked. I'm working on friends and neighbors now.

Care for a bite?