Navy Bean pies don’t sound good but rest assured they’re delicious. The pictured navy bean pie is from the Original Bean Pie Company based in East Orange though it was purchased for $3.50 at Manna’s Delight on 125th and Lenox avenue in Harlem.
The flavor is rich and actually reminiscent of pumpkin pie. The bean is more or less in pulp form so you don’t taste individual beans so much as bean, mixed with vanilla and sugar. The website claims it’s healthier than other pies but with such goodtimes ingredients as vegetable shortening that seems dubious. Regardless they’re worth checking out. If you can’t find them in your area, here is a great recipe to make it.
In researching bean pie I learned some interesting facts about its origins. They’re actually a fairly modern food brought about by the Nation of Islam. The founder, Elijah Muhammed said in his book “How to Eat to Live” of the navy bean:
This bean He (God) valued to be very high in protein, fats and starches, and it is a safe food for prolonging life. As you will find, most of the Muslims like their bean soup. These beans are dry beans. He said that He could take one of our babies and start him off eating the dry small navy bean soup, and make that child live 240 years. He described no other bean. This dry bean, or pulse, is of ancient origin. It was this bean, according to certain historians, that Daniel preferred for himself and his followers in the prison of Nebuchadnezzar. Do not add rice and meats to these beans because they contain proteins, fats and starches.
I’d get 240 years of life while eating something delicious? Sold. It’s worth noting that there are many secular versions of bean pies including variations using pinto or northern beans.Regardless of your religious affiliation, we should all be able to agree that they’re delicious. Check out this interesting short video on Bean Pies, called appropriately Bean Pie, My Brother?