Bean feast

“I want a bean feast” announces Veruca Salt in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. I used to think this was just another of her random demands, but it turns out that a bean feast is a real thing.

Bean feast
Jacob Jordaens [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
No, it’s not a feast of beans. False advertising! There are a few versions of the bean feast, many of them just referring to a good party. (The British slang “Beano” comes from this version, although I suspect that more people now think of Beano as referring to the long-running comic magazine The Beano.)

The original bean feast, though, comes from a Twelfth Night tradition. Bake a pie or cake, and hide a single bean inside it. Whoever gets the bean becomes the “bean king” and is fĂȘted and toasted for the rest of the night. This sounds really fun, especially the part when every time the king drinks everyone else roars “the king drinks!” and joins in.


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