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The key to making any delicious bean soup hideously ugly: black beans.

I just lost my head for a minute. I was going to use pinto beans. I swear I was.

I only wanted to look at the black bean bag to check the pounds to cups conversion, and then I was going to put it back in the cupboard. But then my brain thought “Hey, look! I’ll be able to use up this measly portion of a bag of beans. Won’t THAT be nice!” So I poured the black beans into the measuring cup. And then I got more black beans from the decorative storage jar, and they all ended up in a pot. And then I put the prescribed amount of water in the pot. (I was on a roll.) And then I put the pot on the stove and fired up the burner. And then I said, “Aw, crap!”

It’ll be OK, I decided. How bad could black bean and ham soup be?

I can tell you that it tastes delicious … however, it is butt-ugly.

All the veggies have a purple-gray tint to them — and I don’t know what that goes with worse, the supposed-to-be-pearly-white potatoes or the supposed-to-be-bright-orange carrots. And the ham is as dark purple-black as the beans. Maybe darker. It looks sinister.

We ate while watching a movie — that gave us something to look at besides the soup.

As a homemaking encore, I’m going to buy some new black jeans and launder them on hot with a load of brights.

Homemaking, one disaster at a time at pam[at]