The thing about growing fucking vegetables is that you need someone to share them with. All the beans come amazingly at once, as a big orgasm of fruit. That’s the fruit of the plant, I know, beans aren’t fruit. They’re legumes.
Protein. Apparently beans are the reason parts of the globe were repopulated by folks who discovered them as ‘the poor person’s meat’. People grew stronger, taller and stouter, and had more children, with all that cheap protein. This happened in about the 10th century, in Europe at any rate. Before then, the nobles fondled beans in their pockets, and exchanged them as gifts. The peasants starved. And then we have dear Jack, whose beanstalk represents the aspirations of the lotto-ticket buying working class.
So – I want to share my crop. I planted seeds, tended them, watched them grow, and the harvest is nigh. Those are good things, right? They demonstrate good things about me. And this is my overriding feeling – that I have a warty, bumpy beautiful life full of songs and vegetables that is essentially underutilised… (I just wanna be used, goddammit!) and that in the giving of myself, I shall receive. The same old trap – to give, and hope for love. To perform, and win affection. Manipulative bastard!!! Fucking conditional love! Let off!! (I like to think that the ‘performance’ has more to do with my own intrinsic pleasure nowadays. I am happy to fall in love just for the sake of falling in love. To be moved by the muse, and inspired to pick flowers. But who can I give them to? Myself? Who can I sing in time with? This is the problem. Like a tree falling in a quiet forest… I am that tree. And falling is beautiful, beautiful.)
Nonethefuckingless, I want to share my amazing broad beans, or fava beans, as they are referred to in Silence of the Lambs. I made a paste out of them recently – let me be honest – it half-worked. Finely diced, plenty of garlic, olive oil, lemon, pepper, a drop of tahini… (ok, there was no tahini.)
Broad beans – broad flavour, broad taste, and quite a peculiar one, which always takes you by surprise. Otherworldly. Thinking about all the energy that goes into making that relatively tiny little bean inside its thick soft sheath. All that energy! – sunshine, water, cells generating and multiplying into tall plants with many leaves, and pods longer (but mercifully much much thinner) than my own little trousered yardstick for pretty much everything in life.
Yes. Beans. Where were we? Perhaps the best is to put them in an Ottolenghi-type thingy. He does salad. He does broad bean BURGERS! And he does this mash-up thingy with broadbeans and artichokes. Gratuitous foodporn:
Maybe when I could be arsed enough to cook a hot meal for myself.. but. No. Eating this gorgeous crop on my own feels like a loss. I will have to turn that around…Pick up the phone.
… and do honour to them, make them intrinsically good, just as they are. And oh! Look, here comes an old friend, the best kind. (Well, an entirely different kind from the new type of friend.) The mother of my godchild arrives, and together with him, they shell the pods. And we share them.
All is good in the garden. We keep on planting, watering, weeding, trellising, mulching, harvesting… the cycle of life spins on, the wind is in my hair, and my lips start to make a song…