Genetic Jeans

Ooooh the genetic heritage that befalls a woman of Mennonite heritage. Painfully uncool adolescent years where one wonders if they pass the grade of normal society or will forever be doomed, like the adults around then, to cankles, thunder thighs and the itty-bitty-tittie committee.

Us Mennonite woman are often plain (I dare you to find a super model, make that any model, with the last name Penner, Thiessen, or Klassen) but we are oh-so-eternally cheerful no matter what the circumstances. We are blessed with robust health, but long sinewy legs? No. High, graceful cheekbones? Not really. Exotically lush lips? Pft, that might lead to kissing. Porcelain skin? Puhlease. But, we do have bouyant personalities.

We are often taught that vainglorious is wrong. I love the word vainglorious.  That in and of itself should already signal trouble. And I must admit, I love my long, flowing, and high-lighted (not to mention low lighted, reversed balayaged, glossed, and whatever else my sytlist whips up) hair. Which I admire in the mirror on quite a regular basis. My darkly painted finger nails. My wickedly awesome baroque tattoo. And skinny jeans. I am literally running from my genes to fit into my jeans which at this point seems to be serving me well.

However, I have a feeling those Mennonite genes will eventually assert themselves and take over. But until they completely dominate, I will use everything in my arsenal to pass the muster of inclusion into fashionable society including tottering around in ridiculously high heels and sweating through countless hot yoga sessions: thunder-thighs be damned. I have even joined the ranks of Meatless Monday cooking on account of it being “healthy” and thereby reducing the onset of cankles. (Such is not heard of in a good Mennonite household: meat, potatoes, buns and butter. Then a little more meat. And a little more butter. And always dessert. Always.)

Chipotle Black Bean Soup

source: the non-Mennonite version of me

serves: many

  • 1 Lb black beans
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped (seeded if you want to control the heat)
  • 1 chipotle pepper with adobo sauce (seeded if you want a little less heat)
  • 1 heaping tsp cumin
  • 1 heaping tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 strips bacon
  • 1 C Heinz chili sauce
  • 8-12 cups chicken stock
  • 3/4 C sherry
  • Soak the beans in water overnight. Make sure the beans are covered with at least 2″ of water.
  • Fry the three strips of bacon in your soup pot. Remove and set aside.
  • In your soup pot cook the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and jalapeno until tender (drain off the bacon drippings so as to eliminate the nasty fat and hinder onset of Mennonite genes). Generously season your veggies with pepper. And a little salt if you need. Once the veggies are tender add the chipotle pepper, cumin, chili powder and bay leaves.
  • Drain the black beans and add to your soup pot. Add 8 cups of stock, the chili sauce and the bacon. Bring to a boil. Reduce your heat to low, cover and simmer for 3 to 4 hours until the beans are soft. Stir occasionally. If your soup is getting to dry add more stock. Once the beans are soft turn off the heat and stir in the sherry.
  • Let your soup cool then puree.
  • To serve, heat and top with whatever your heart desires. I would add cilantro, pickled jalapenos and a few pieces of avacado. Those without a Mennonite surname might add tortillas chips, sour cream, and large handful of sharp cheddar cheese.


  • I used all 12 cups of stock. I thought my soup looked a little too liquidy at the end, but once it was blended it turned out just the right consistency.
  • For 12 servings there are approximately 220 calories, 4 grams fat, and 30 grams carbs per serving.
  • I did not let the soup cool enough before pureeing. To help out those as vainglorious and impatient as me: if you do not have a handy immersion blender and have not donned an apron do not wear a shimmery, violet hued silk t-shirt when blending dark, hot liquids.

3 thoughts on “Genetic Jeans

  1. This soup is very good, definitly worth the work. I can vouch for that as Mel and me did the Mennonite exchange of home brown bread and the soup.

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