Enterprising Henry Heinz and a friend, back in the 1870s, filled a horse-drawn wagon with their homemade horseradish, sauerkraut, pickles, and vinegar and began selling their culinary creations to Pittsburgh grocers. They did well, but a decade later, Henry jettisoned his partner and went into business with relatives instead, launching the F & J Heinz Company. The new, tweaked product line consisted of ketchup, chili sauce, sweet pickles, apple butter…and baked beans. That is, beans in a tomato sauce, packed in a tin can. Within a decade, the company began selling goods in the UK. Henry and his family sailed to England, lugging five sample cases laden with the company’s “finest and newest products.” The renown Fortnum & Mason department store in London, a Georgian-era startup famous for carrying exotic specialty products (and a leader in offering products in the newfangled tin can), and a frequent Royal Warrant holder, recognized a winner when they saw one. In a game-changing moment, the F & M buyers told Heinz they would "take the whole lot.” When Fortnum & Mason latched onto the product, the bean’s place in UK history was sealed.
In the 1920s, Heinz stopped exporting baked beans and ketchup to the UK and opened production factories for those goods in England. There, a company executive, trying to sell more baked beans, came up with the bright idea of putting beans on toast—and the Brits loved it. Later, during WW II, Britain’s Ministry of Food classified Heinz Baked Beans as “essential food” in its wartime rationing system. In fact, Heinz UK was helping the war effort so much that the Axis twice bombed the Harlesden, London, factory. Shortly after the war, the Queen issued a Royal Warrant to the company.
In the UK in the 1960s, Heinz’ ad slogan “Beanz Meanz Heinz” went viral, as they say today—becoming one of the best-known ad slogans in the UK. The ad creator claimed that the slogan was “written over two pints of beer in The Victoria pub in Mornington Crescent.” Four years ago, the company renamed the beans, “Heinz Baked Beanz,” with a "z." (Of course, there’s Cockney rhyming slang for baked beans: "Steve McQueens.") Today, other baked bean producers compete with Heinz in the UK, (e.g., Branston and HP), but Heinz remains the top seller. Below, I offer two recipes for beans on toast. Enjoy!
BEANZ ON TOAST
Heinz Baked Beanz
Optional - Ham (lean)
Toast bread to a firm brown, then top with beans. (If using ham, put down ham layer first, then add beans.)
Variation: Use a hotdog bun instead of bread.
Heinz Baked Beanz
Lightly toast bread, then top with ham, beans, and cheese, and grill until cheese melts. Top with fried or poached egg.
Peruse Anglophiles United "Kitchen & Pantry" page HERE
Go to: BRITISH FOOD
Go to: BRITISH DRINK
Go to: BRITISH TEA CUSTOMS
Go to: HOMEPAGE