Cheryl fixed me a late birthday lunch today: dried baby lima beans, brown rice, and club steak. I grilled the steak. I don’t know what I did right but this is the first time in almost thirty six years of marriage that Cheryl has cooked dried baby lima beans. I love dried baby lima beans. I have since I was a child.
My mother was a great cook, Southern cuisine. We always had meat on the table and multiple vegetables. Dinners were never a surprise. The meat was almost always fried steak, fried ham, fried chicken, fried fish or fried pork chops. There was the occasional roast or fat back and rice, but something fried was the norm.
White rice was always on the table (except for breakfast) and some type of bean or pea. There are many types of beans and peas in a southern kitchen: dried black-eyed peas, fresh black-eyed peas, field peas (with snaps), purple hull peas, speckled butter beans, speckled butter peas. Most of these we grew ourselves. We didn’t grow white limas but we had dried baby lima beans at least once a week.
My mother loved dried baby limas, but she had a problem cooking them. They take a long time to cook and she often waited too late to put them on the stove. On top of that she had too much faith in her children. “Kids, I’ve got to run a quick errand; don’t let my beans burn.” You would think she would have learned the futility of that kind of assignment, but she never did.
Scorched baby lima beans are not pleasant to the palette. It’s a unique, sour and bitter flavor. Mom would apologize to my Dad, “I scorched the beans again.” Dad would take a bite and respond, “Umh, just the way I like em.” I opted to coat my scorched beans in black pepper. That’s the way I like them, rice, smothered in beans, smothered in black pepper.
I am thankful Cheryl made me dried baby lima beans today. She didn't scorch them either. At this rate, I’ll next enjoy them on my ninety-third birthday.
September 24, 2010