Dr Pepper Beans!

Trademarked Dr Pepper/ Seven Up, Inc.

I rounded the isle at the big box grocery store and my eyes fixated on a startling sight - Dr Pepper Beans! I thought at first, "Only in Texas!" but then I caught myself, "This is Springfield, Illinois!" We have been back in the Prairie State for 27 years now! What was I thinking? However, fifteen years of being brain-washed with the iconic Texas brew of Dr Pepper everything, does have a lasting effect on a guy!

I wanted to buy a can, but Mrs. K put me off by saying she is well stocked with ranch beans, pork 'n beans and organic black beans. So, as soon as we work
through our bean inventory in the pantry, I'm heading to the store to bring home some of those "Sweet and a bit Sassy" Dr Pepper Beans!

I was surprised, however, and a bit disappointed to read on the label that these beans were distributed by Good Eats Foods Co. of Fayetteville, Arkansas. I don't have anything bad to say about Arkansas (Monique and I have a close friend who lives in the Razorback State!), but Dr Pepper is Texas and it just seems a little strange. What is not surprising though is that this recipe uses the original formula of 23 unique flavors. I did read the reviews on this product and they are predictably mixed between "love it!" and "hate it!" As for a first-hand appraisal? I won't know for sure until I can taste them for myself!

All of this reminds me of that list of different ways to prepare shrimp from the movie, Forrest Gump featuring one of the characters, Bubba (Mykelti Williamson), who recites a running list of recipe titles for his friend Forrest (Tom Hanks). These recipes roll off of Bubba's tongue while this conscripted duo dutifully carry out their chores in the barracks one day. Bubba, without emotion and matter-of-factly, carries on about his passion for shrimp, "Anyway, like I was saying, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sauté it. There’s shrimp kebabs, shrimp creole … shrimp gumbo, pan fried, deep fried, stir fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp … shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich …" I have been recently reminded that the word "shrimp" was used over 42 times in that brief conversation.

How many ways have you eaten the quintessential bean? I have had beans baked, refried, and eaten out of the can during a scouting overnight. I've delighted in them during a ballgame while eating a foot-long hot dog in a bean-lined Sonoron potato bun in San Diego! (Try saying that three times as fast as you can!) I've had them with bacon strips on top, crusted with brown sugar, and mixed with hot dogs for a Sunday night meal before the television.

I have had pinto beans with barbecue, baked beans at a picnic, homemade refried beans for breakfast, great northern beans with ham hock, black beans in a Tex-Mex casserole and black-eyed peas for good luck on New Years Day that I've told my Yankee grandsons are really beans (Oh, forgive me, my Texas family and friends!) Whether cold or room temperature from the can or hot from the stove pot, skillet or oven, I've never met a bean I didn't like!

It is storied now among close friends how I started drinking Dr Pepper when I worked for an Illinois auto part's store during my high school years. After making my weekly delivery to an open country repair shop, I always enjoyed going into the grocery store side of the business. It was great fun to open that humble screen door and move into the aisle where I would reach into an iced cooler to pull out my favorite bottled cola... Dr Pepper!

This cola habit continued when we moved to the Great State of Texas in 1977. There I would spend my late twenties and thirties as a seminary student and associate pastor and eventually, senior pastor, enjoying the original recipe of this beverage that back in the day used Imperial Pure Cane Sugar in the formula. This is the real deal for Dr Pepper aficionados! It was bottled exclusively in Dublin, Texas and when you drank from this bottle of sugary delight, you knew you had something extra special to cool you down during those 100 degree Texas summer days.

Isn't it interesting how something new can take us down memory lane? As we enter this New Year, let's not forget the blessings of the past. Many of our best memories are focused on our always present, ever good and gracious, God. His faithfulness is enduring and repeatable year after year! The Psalmist captures this perfectly, "Bless the Lord, O my soul; and forget not all His benefits" (103:2). There may have been some moments you want to put behind you from this past year, but let's anticipate the New Year with praise and blessing for the Lord! There are no mixed reviews concerning His infinite love and grace!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com


  1. I'm glad that a company in NW Arkansas could help you get those beans. We've been influenced by Texas culture. (We even have Whataburger restaurants.)

    1. Yes, one of our favorite burgers! The Mrs. lives for the Whataburger Junior! That mustard and onion seems extra special on this Texas signature burger!


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