3.11.2009

bean by bean

From the looks of it, even the day itself wasn't too keen on getting out of bed this morning.

8am. High noon. It's all the same today. The light is sleepy and sluggish, unchanging from hour to hour. I wonder if it's because of the fog, until I realize that there is no fog. Maybe I'm the foggy one.

If, a few short months ago, you had told me that I would find refuge from such dreariness in a frozen block of lima beans, I probably wouldn't have believed you. Then again, I never knew that with just fifteen minutes of care, that frozen block could end up looking like this:

lima beans with feta from above

When I was a kid, my mom and dad never had to tell me twice to eat my vegetables. Heck, they never even had to tell me once. My parents weren't really ones to fret over things like healthy eating. But if they had been, I would not have let them down. Even as a child, I could polish off a plate of just about anything green thanks to two of my most deeply-rooted qualities. First, there's my abiding affection for vegetables. I come by it naturally. For the most part. And whatever my tongue didn't take to on its own got a little help down the hatch from unflinching quality number two: I aim to please. You might even say that I yearn to do The Right Thing. I have often wished that I could shake off this rather cumbersome piece of my personality, but at 28, I fear it might be here to stay. My kindergarten teacher said it best on my report card one semester: "Jessica has a very strong sense of right and wrong." Boy, do I. And eating one's vegetables is most certainly right. Very Right. I didn't need parents to tell me that. (Though Captain Vegetable's subtle message didn't hurt.)

Downing broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach and asparagus was easy. They were delicious. But lima beans? Eh. Not so much. Their waxy skins and dry, pasty middles - the result of too many minutes in the microwave, no doubt - kind of just turned me off. Still, intent on doing The Right Thing, I would always clean my plate, bean by bean.

Lima beans have always been my dirty little secret. Mom, Dad, Captain Vegetable, I hereby turn myself in. The Lima bean jig is up. You have at this point guessed the truth: I never much liked them.

When my mom came to visit a few months ago, she plied us with so much dreamy chicken soup that I must have missed it when she snuck a couple of frozen lima bean packages into our freezer. Because wasting food is definitely not The Right Thing to do, I knew I'd have to eat the things sooner or later. Today seemed as good a day as any to get it over with. My expectations were low. A dreary vegetable for a dreary day, I figured. But then, I don't know what came over me. While the beans thawed over a low flame, I pulled out some leftover parsley and feta. I reached for the olive oil, and soon I had a pile of beans before me that looked - dare I say it - incredibly appetizing.

lima beans with feta close up

Over the course of the afternoon, I ate the whole package, bean by bean, this time with pleasure. I then thanked my lucky stars that Mom left not one, but two frozen blocks of lima beans in our until-very-recently-lima-bean-free freezer. I will do this again. And soon.

I suppose that on a day like today, it's actually not a bad idea to take things bean by bean. In fact, when you've got a block of limas in your freezer, it's a rather tasty proposition.

Lima Beans with Feta and Parsley

1 10 oz. package frozen lima beans
1/4 c. water
1 overflowing T. olive oil
1 T. fresh parsley, chopped
1 T. crumbled feta cheese
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

Place frozen lima beans and 1/4 c. water in a small saucepan over a medium-low flame. Stirring occasionally, cook for 10-15 minutes, until the beans are heated through and the water has more or less evaporated. Turn off the heat, and stir in the oil. Add the parsley, feta cheese, salt, and pepper, give it a stir, and serve immediately.

3 comments:

EEJ said...

Mmmm... lima beans were the first vegetable (and the only one for a long while) that I actually liked. And now I never eat them! Will have to buy some ASAP!

kasey said...

If it's ready, gimme spaghetti! It's a lovely thing. It looks like string. It's such a thrill to eat my fill and gobble 'til there's nothing on my plate. Spaghetti is great!

Jess said...

Happy to reignite the lima bean flame, EEJ.

Kasey, I see you're a Captain Vegetable fan, yourself!