Why Beans On Toast Is So Popular In England

If you're uninspired, hungry, broke, or a combination of any of these things, beans and toast can solve a few of those issues. Canned beans are of those pantry must-haves, and bread is usually easy to come by. Combining the two for a quick meal is not only a budget-saver, but, as far as meal preparation goes, you can't get much more straight-forward than opening a can, heating up its contents, buttering some toast, and throwing it all together.

The combination of beans and toast is an age-old U.K. breakfast tradition, yet it's a meal that to this day is fiercely advocated for and against by opinionated eaters (via Food Network). A Twitter debate compiled by Indy100 hotly discussed the merits and demerits of the bean-bread combination, with some participants insisting that bread and beans is pure, delicious comfort — and others going so far as to blame the dish for "Megxit." Clearly, beans on toast is a polarizing concept that reminds some people of fond childhood memories or desperate moments at uni, and for others it's a gastronomic experience that can't be understood.

A cheap, protein-packed meal

The irony is that while beans and toast seems British, American ketchup brand Heinz claims to have invented it nearly a century ago. The story goes that this was the company's way of selling more canned beans produced in its English factories — particularly during World War II, when beans were marketed as an affordable and protein-packed grocery item for those supporting the effort from home. Though Brits are no longer affected by wartime rationing, they still love their cheap and satisfying beans on toast — a dish that nostalgia has surely propelled to the forefront of the U.K.'s cuisine.

One possible explanation for Brits' love of the dish and Americans' loathing of it is that British beans in tomato sauce are not as sugary as American ones, as suspected by Professional Moron. If you're not a fan of the ketchupy beans you can find in the U.S., you can take beans and toast to the next level by trying our test kitchen's gourmet beans on toast recipe, which calls for plain canned beans doctored up with ham and herbs.