The Case for Slow-Cooker Beans (and a Vegan Chili Recipe)

Marla Rose
5 min readAug 30, 2021
Photo credit: John Beske

Years ago, as a 20-year-old in my first apartment, I started learning to cook because eating boxed stuffing mix every night, tasty as it was, was not really a way for a functional adult to sustain herself. I was a vegetarian and it didn’t have meat in it so I guess it was fine, right? At first it was fun, like having the best part of Thanksgiving every night, and I reveled in my first taste of freedom outside of my childhood home and the dorm. Until I didn’t.

The stuffing became an immediate heavy-hitter but one evening, somehow I saw myself hunched over another bowl of it in a weirdly Gollum-like way and thought, You know, I should probably add something else into my dietary repertoire. I’d always loved cooking with my grandmother but my role was just as a glorified assistant who stirred, whisked and listened to a little fun gossip, so I didn’t know how to cook for myself. This was the era before Google and the internet, so eventually I found myself in a bookstore, specifically browsing the few shelves with titles about enchanted broccoli forests and boasting recipes that had gotten the thumb’s up from the whole commune. My people! I mainly learned how to cook through cookbooks and the same was true about five years later when I went vegan.

I don’t know when I first discovered Robin Robertson’s oeuvre but it was within…