Food has a way of bringing people together -- like making a birthday cake with friends, cooking hot dogs at a summer BBQ, family brunches.

But food can also lead to family stories and traditions. That's the idea around the new book "Frijoles, Elotes, Y Chipotles, Oh My! & Other Tummy Tales." 

The book weaves multicultural stories together with recipes including collard greens, fruit noodle kugel and, of course, frijoles. It was compiled, in part, by Dr. Renee Fajardo, the Journey Through our Heritage coordinator at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Here's one of Fajardo's favorite recipe, her aunt's frijoles.

Tia Lucy’s Frijoles

Tía Lucy isn’t in this story, but her frijoles recipe is what Uncle Jake was making.
Here it is. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 pound dried beans, any kind
Water
2-3 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
5-6 whole garlic cloves

Instructions

1.  Clean and sort the beans.
2. The night before you plan to cook (10-14 hours ahead of time), soak the beans to reduce cooking time.
3. Drain the soaked beans and transfer to a large cooking pot. Cover with water to at least 4 inches above the beans.
4. Bring the beans to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to a medium simmer and let boil until there is only an inch of water left in pot.
5. Add boiling water to the pot as the beans reduce, until the water level is about 4 inches above the beans. Repeat until beans are tender.
6. After one hour, check beans for doneness. When done, add salt and garlic to taste.

Depending on their age, size, and variety, beans can take anywhere from an hour to three hours to cook through. This method of cooking will produce a rich, thick gravy that is wonderful to sop up with tortillas.

You can cool the beans in their cooking liquid and transfer them to refrigerator containers, still with their liquid. Beans will keep for one week refrigerated, or can be frozen for up to three months.

You can find more information about "Frijoles, Elotes, Y Chipotles, Oh My! & Other Tummy Tales"  here.