Sunday, May 19, 2019

Tucson, AZ: Tohono O'odham: Tepary Beans

Tepary beans and tortilla, Waila Festival, Sahuarita, Arizona. May 2019.

Yesterday a friend and I went to the 3rd Annual Waila Festival at the Desert Diamond Casino in Sahuarita, which is a town not far from Tucson.

The Waila Festival brings together various elements of the Tohono O'odham communities in the region, such as music, food, jewelry, woodwork, and other artisanal products.

My friend and I shared a bowl of tepary beans and short rib meat, paired with a tortilla.

Before we ordered the dish, the festival vendor gave me a spoonful for tasting. Not much spicing, but the bean itself had a flavor new to me. It carries a bit of its own spice in its little body, which I was curious to investigate further. There were about as many tender morsels of short-rib meat in the mix as one might see in one's childhood kitchen in a large family, and mom is stretching the expensive stuff so everyone can have a little.

The tortilla was thin-thin and fried, wilty from its weight in oil, with a hint of sweetness, I thought.

I'd never heard of tepary beans, so when I got home, I looked them up. National Public Radio's, The Salt, did a piece in 2018 on tepary beans and their connection to Tohono O'odham's heritage: Arizona's Tepary Beans Preserve A Native Past, Hold Promise For The Future. A related video below from KJZZ in Phoenix:

KJZZ also did a cute video about tepary beans here:

Tepary beans "taste like the desert."

No comments: