Beans headlined my last-minute grocery list.
Elbows flared, an older man blocked my way. His stance was wide, his reach, long. He radiated ownership, as if these were his beans, and he examined each one, stem to tail.
I needed two handfuls, pronto.
Ragged shorts, crumpled canvas hat, one tube sock at half-mast—he didn’t look like a chef. Those focused hands might have belonged to an eccentric composer seeking the lost chord: the epitome of crunch, sweetness, savor. Shine.
I headed for Dairy, impatient yet curious. Was Mr. Persnickety entertaining a V.I.P.? Perhaps he was painting a still life, in oils, and he needed fresh props.
When I circled back, The Green Bean Guy was gone.
Unable to forget TGBG, I wrote about him, then googled “idioms, beans.”
“(S)he doesn’t know beans” dates back to the early 1800s.
This felt personal. I waited for insight, or memory, any garden-variety gem . . .
Several years ago I cruised Produce with my father-in-law. Pressed for time, I power-walked aisles, bagged fruits and veges with only a cursory glance. Dad obliged my pace, albeit reluctantly.
“You’re very efficient,” he said, then added: “I love all those colors and good smells. And the free samples. I learn a lot from other shoppers, too.”
Dad was my mother-in-law’s caregiver for years. I looked at him with new appreciation. Amid multiple heart wrenching tasks, he had sustained their health (and perhaps his soul) by finding delight in a common, weekly errand.
In his sermon, Pastor Eric said this:
The food we savor is one of the great sacred signs of the coming kingdom of God.
Dad’s with God now. Had we shopped that day at his joyous, leisurely pace, what might I have learned about him? And about God’s unhurried ways?
I might have gleaned lasting kingdom wisdom from The Green Bean Guy, too, perhaps a gourmet, or a Master Gardener.
Next grocery trip, I plan to loiter, strike up a conversation or two. Immerse in earthy delights.
Recipe: “Taste and see . . .”
2 handfuls of green beans, sliced, ends trimmed
1/2 c. fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/4 red pepper, sliced thinly
1 T. olive oil (or roasted sesame oil)
1 T. wheat-free Tamari sauce
1 T. rice vinegar
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
roasted sunflower seeds for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Combine liquid ingredients in bowl. Add veges and toss. Roast 15+ minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for doneness. Garnish with sunflower seeds.
Sometimes the unexplained needs of strangers or those we love compel us to wait our turn—often, when we’re on a mission. What will we do?
Recipe Kleinerized from “Cristina’s Roasted Green Beans,” The Abascal Way to Quiet Inflammation.