It was also one of the first plants domesticated over 10,000 years ago. The author goes into how beans have risen and fallen in favor with different cultures and classes. It's a complicated story that is told well. Just about every culture has a rich history of bean recipes and I really liked that the author included a sampling of these recipes. Want to know how the ancient Romans or the medieval peasants cooked their beans? It's in here. There's even a recipe for a Pinto Bean Fruit Cake, though I think I'll pass.
I recommend this book for a great breadth of knowledge while keeping it entertaining to read. I found my copy at the local library, check it out!