A certain housemate once rolled his eyes at me because I was piling frozen green beans into the grocery cart when we already had fresh ones bought at the farmers’ market malingering in the bins in the bottom of the fridge at home. I might have reluctantly put one bag back. But the fact is, they do last a few days in the fridge, and a few frozen portions for backup seemed entirely reasonable to me. After another year of absentmindedly consuming whatever flotsam and jetsam came my way, I have one foot back on the multi-hued vegetable path that has been assigned for my health and happiness. When I follow it correctly and eat hardly any bread, rice, or crackers, it can be hard to feel full all day. That’s where my friend the green bean comes in.
Green beans are a staple in my ideal diet. I have had to say these words out loud.
Green beans can be eaten raw or practically raw, or they can be cooked in ways true to each continent on the planet. The simplest are the best, and even people who “don’t like vegetables” will eat a few with their meal of mammal or bird body parts. You can eat green beans cold out of the sauteeing pan when the dinner guests are gone and the family is asleep. You need not use a fork nor wash one. The fingertips may be used and they are not hard to wash if there is plumbing; if there isn’t, you can probably wipe your hands on the one cabin apron and no one will be the wiser. My ragmop black cat, who likes to sniff everything I consume when we are alone in the house, is surprisingly not interested in green beans, at least when they are passive and still (thank goodness they generally are), which also facilitates the quiet midnight snack. Green beans are good for your digestion without being overly dramatic about it.
Green beans are my answer to my evolving feeding needs. You don’t have to work as hard filling up as you do with salad. I love all greens, but chewing through enough to actually feel full could take an hour! I don’t even mind feeling like a cow, but I wish I had the daily plans of one in either of my big notebooks: “Run out into the pasture.” “Turn around and face the same way the others are facing.” “Rest by the fence at midday and moo soulfully at humans driving by.” “Gaze at the forest-trimmed horizon.” “Welcome the new calf with a licking.” “Go back into barn.” But I don’t. I rush from solitary to group work and back again all day, my mind trying to flex like a camera shutter going from telephoto to close-up. Give me half an hour of sitting still thinking nothing, and I feel like I’m on vacation. Give me another 10 minutes, and I’ll steam myself some green beans.