“What do I do with this?” he asked, taking it from me as if it might strike and sink a fang deep into his flesh.
My husband’s not a fan of raw green beans, so this was not the response he was seeking.
The cool overnight forecasts in May had made me overly cautious, so I planted our beans a bit later than usual. The first to mature started blooming last week. It’s a slender, French filet variety that will pair well with olive oil and a hint of freshly ground sea salt. We’ve been looking forward to the first harvest.
Unfortunately, when it finally arrived, the pickings were slim — two solitary beans. More are promised, but not for a few days.
“I already ate mine. I’m not cooking two beans,” I explained in response to Kevin’s quizzical look.
This is the reality of the bell curve of vegetative production. First a trickle, then a steady stream, followed by a flood. Then reverse the flow.
It’s directly inverse to our response. Anticipation makes those first few berries, tomatoes, even zucchini, so treasured. But, the ensuing onslaught of produce at its peak tends to generate a healthy dose of contempt — or at least ennui. As the harvest fades, those final succulent fruits regain their prized status as we realize it’ll be many, many months before we savor their like again.
The textures of fresh fruit and vegetables differ dramatically from preserved. The nutrients may be captured and stored, but not that stop-you-in-your-tracks crisp burst of flavor. Whether crunchy or creamy, juicy or meaty, sweet or bitter, the taste experience is simply summed: The fresher the better, so enjoy it while it lasts.
This is just one more of the rhythms that have enveloped our lives since we began growing and storing more of our own foods. That reliable ebb and flow is comforting, bearing us along like the tide.
So, although a quick sauté may have enhanced the pleasure, I have to say that single bean was relatively incredible — a tad fuzzy on the tongue, certainly crisp, a bit sweet, and indescribably green.
Kevin begrudgingly agreed.
And, by next week, there’ll be many more.