At about $2 a bag (although I remember when they were less than half that), maybe $1 for some boiling meat, and a few cents for the cornmeal and an egg, you can have a huge pot of soup beans, a wedge of cornbread, get full, and not have to worry overmuch about how much fat you just crammed in your belly. With only 1/2 gram of fat per 1/2 c, and approximately 8 cups cooked, there's only about 8 grams of fat in the WHOLE pot. Sweet, huh? Of course, you'll be adding fat with the boiling meat, but I usually get a package of smoked pork necks. There are 3-4 necks in a package, so I get enough for 2 or 3 pots of beans. (I LOVE MY FREEZER!!) I usually pay $2-$3 for a package. There are also smoked turkey wings for those who don't do pork. I am not sure how much those would be, though.
They're also super simple. There are two ways you can do them.
Traditionally, you soak your beans overnight in just enough water to cover them. In the morning, sort through and pull out all the stuff that shouldn't be in there (I've found a rock or two in my bag before) and rinse off the beans a few times to get rid of any dirt that might've gotten into the bag during packing. Then you simmer your beans with the boiling meat in them (seasoned to your liking) until their good and tender.
Alternatively, you can rinse them well, give them a few good shakes to sort out the rocks, and cook them really slowly for several hours with the boiling meat to make up for the soaking time.
Either way works to the same end.
Bake your cornbread and serve on the side, or I like to put my beans on top of my cornbread and mush it up into a yummy glop.
Super cheap, super filling, super yummy.