B190: Beans

I have a wealth of beans. There are thousands and thousands of beans behind eye level glass at my home. Beans, or more correctly called legumes and grains are stored in the open. Every day I can have the food security a glance can bring me. Cooking is looking comes to mind today.

A couple of months ago Rosa made a comment about her half thought-out theory of creating. Rather than inspiration first then finding the materials, the post-oil shift will be acknowledging materials at hand and finding inspiration. Her theory stayed with me and I believe it is profoundly true. From my post on Trashion Rosa said:
I have this half-thought-out theory that about 50 years of modern art and craft-as-art (say starting with Pop Art) have been about dealing with the overwhelming plenty of industrial consumerism, and we are starting to see the beginning of post-plenty art.

Just like cooking by looking at what is available and making something delicious out of it, this art of looking at what is there and transforming it through skill, instead of thinking of something and finding the resources to make it, isn't so much a technique as a world view.

But it's a really important shift.

Cooking by looking is more profoundly real to me now that I have stopped using refrigeration. I had my first food go furry and blue on me yesterday. It was the hummus. I will need to make less or give away half. Hummus holds for several days – that’s all.

Visually checking all of my fresh food for rot and changing the water several times a day on my lettuce bouquet and kale bouquet is far more attentive than I was accustomed to prior to unplugging the refrigerator. It has made me conscious of buying only what I can eat before the food decays. And, I need to cook more often.

I am grateful for this experiment in living to point out some post-cheap oil realities in a visceral way. Living off-grid and without refrigeration as all humanity lived prior to mass produced electrical refrigeration, means first of all paying attention. Over buying fresh food is stupid if is only going to rot. Living without refrigeration means I should learn more methods of food preservation.

With so little food to harvest in my raised bed garden and the community gardens, I have been putting off canning versus drying versus fermentation decisions. Sharon and Chile both have all the links and information I would ever need to take this on for a decision. Stay tuned . . .

But what about the beans?! This post is titled beans because I have beans on the brain. Because of all I have said about keeping fresh food around, I am relying on my dried beans and legumes if I don’t harvest enough fresh vegetables or buy enough from the Farmer’s market. So this relieves me of the money and supply anxieties.

I have beans on the brain because I have been soaking 3 kinds of beans for a week to get them to sprout. I want to plant the community gardens in a cover crop of beans to fix nitrogen in the soil. The community gardens are just pathetic and I have started thinking in terms of growing soil rather than growing crops this year. This is what I am picturing – only multiplied by hundreds and matured. I envision a field of green compost growing to enrich this sad, sorry soil.

Although Cool Beans was an expression in the 70’s and 80’s, beans is also a fitting metaphor for polite swearing. I remember that the expletive, “Oh BEANS!” was the stand in for real swearing when I was growing up. I have been exasperated with myself for not living up to my own expectations with gardening and I have no excuses that make any sense. I am pissed off (though it shames me to admit this) with the complete and utter lack of community spirit for the gardens from 35 different homes. One neighbor did plant something he had no room for in his yard and another chooses to water only the banana and avacado plants. Besides these two only the manager couple and I have done anything in the gardens. Hey, I said from the onset I didn’t want to go all self-righteous, so I need to just get over my bad self on this one. I need to plant the damn beans on my own and just STFU.

And, BEANS and franks, franks and beans the country is run by craven buttheads. Daily it is apparent we are on our own.

I think I may have to write more about beans as the year goes on. Right now I have black-eyed peas, garbanzo and adzuki beans. Frankly, I simply ran out of containers for more varieties. I like the humble theme – the bean. It is a miracle in design. It helps that I find food beautiful.

This last image from Cid* at Flickr.


lavonne said...

I've learned to love the security of beans too, once I got over my fear of cooking them from scratch. Now it feels much more convenient to have bags of many kinds of beans that I can soak and pressure cook whenever I want, than to have to shop for small cans of the two or three different kinds that are available at the store. When the weather cools down, I plan to get a pressure canner and can my own beans, so I'll have a wide variety ready to go anytime. I love beans!

katecontinued said...

Cool beans.
This pressure canner sounds intriguing. Tell me more.