Why aren't dry beans used more in the American diet? I think it comes down to 3 main reasons:
1- People don't know how to fix them,
2-They think beans take too long to cook,
3-Fear of flatulence.
My answers to these problems are:
1) Check out the bean recipes I post, as well as all the many other websites with great bean recipes, including Bean Bible. There are also many crock pot bean recipes to make things even easier. So be brave, experiment, and discover what you and your family like!
2) While most beans do take an average of 1.5 hours to cook, they take very little supervision. As long as they don't run out of water, they pretty well cook themselves. (Note: Beans may also be cooked in a crockpot (and cook slower this way), just be sure to follow the tip below.)
3) If your family isn't used to eating beans at all, definitely start out slowly to allow your bodies time to adjust to the high fiber content. In addition, here is an easy way to reduce the gas in your beans: After rinsing and sorting your beans, put them in a pot with plenty of water and heat to boiling. Allow to boil 10 minutes, then drain and rinse. Much of the gas is released in this first part of cooking, so it's easy to get rid of it in this way. Refill the pot with water and dump your softened beans back in to continue cooking.