The Trouble with Green Beans

I’ve had a displeasing relationship with green beans my whole life.  But, I was never able to put my finger on exactly what it was that dissatisfied me so much about them.  Sure, without substantial accompaniment they’re barely palatable.  But, that’s not really it.  There’s always been something more…something deeper that has bothered me.  Sure, I was a picky eater as a kid, but as an adult, I enjoy and embrace a wide variety of healthy food.  Still, I’ve not taste for green beans.  I never cook them or order them when eating out, and if I’m presented with them in someone else’s home, I will eat them to be polite [to do otherwise is disdainful].  However, recently, I’ve come to realize the issue, which is that green beans are not beans at all.  They are a housing for beans.

Take, for example, a kidney bean, black bean, or pinto bean.  These are all well-developed, tasty, and good for you, and they all grow in a bean pod…or house.  You don’t eat the house.  You eat the bean.  Yet, what we call a green bean is actually a bean…house.  The beans inside are under-developed, but somewhere along the way we decided it was easier to eat the house than to develop the bean.  And, eventually, we began to refer to the house as the bean. Now, when we decide our regular dose of bean-house is too bland, we mix it with bacon or ham and butter and salt to make it more palatable.  We stir it in with some fried rice, or mix it in with some soup.  And, on festive occasions, we smother it in mushroom gravy and add some water chestnuts for snap.  But, it’s not the green bean that makes these dishes worth eating.

No amount of enthusiasts singing the praises of the glorious flavor of a fresh green bean is going to make me believe it.  I recognize the failure to develop the quality within.  I’ve tasted the house myself and found it lacking.  With all of the other higher quality and better tasting food available to me, why would I waste my time on a food whose quality is grossly oversold and whose true nature is falsely identified.  As such, I suggest that we forget the house and focus on developing the bean.  If we want to feed the current generation, this is what we must do.  This is a generation that is not interested in eating a house…a generation that says, “You’re not fooling anyone.  That’s not a bean, it’s a bean-house…and there’s nothing inside worth eating.”

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