Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Cycle of Bean

I don't care how smart you are, chances are you have at least one intellectual blind spot. You know, something that a person of your intelligence (or lower) should know, except you don't.

Not so much a blind spot as a
pointed stick in the eye of reason,
but same principle.
For instance, until very recently I didn't know that the green beans I love to make as a veggie and the dried beans from which we make soup and pork-and were the same food.

Don't judge.
Go ahead and laugh. I mean, the great Alan Young, who famously played Wilbur Post on TV's "Mister Ed," passed away this week. I'll bet you didn't know he also was the voice of Scrooge McDuck on countless of episodes of Disney's "DuckTales." Huh? Did you? Huh?

Mr. Ed went to the great glue factory in the sky
years ago, of course.
Anyway, back to beans. Yes, I honestly believed there were two completely different foods that both just happened to share the name "beans." Like the way Snickerdoodles aren't made from Snickers candy bars, or how (brace yourselves) Chick-O-Sticks contain no actual chicken. I'm really surprised they haven't gotten sued over that one.

Shown: Lawsuit waiting to happen.
So laugh if you want, but I lived my whole life believing that there were beans that were vegetables and beans that were legumes. And then I got my mind blown.

Turns out you can take an ordinary dried bean (pinto, kidney, great northern) and sprout it and plant it in the ground and make a goddamn green bean plant.

With all kinds of scientifically named parts and shit.
If you're wondering how I got through an entire American childhood without ever growing a bean plant in science class or Girl Scouts or whatnot, the answer is, I'm sure I did, but I blocked it out. The experience must have been traumatic in some way. Maybe my bean was the only one in the entire class that didn't sprout, or maybe the mean kid who hated me dumped my bean out of its cup and ruined it. Maybe I was so incredibly dense as a child that I saw the life cycle of the common bean playing out before my eyes and still thought they were two separate foods. You can't go far wrong by counting on my denseness as a child.

I didn't realize the Gabor sisters were two separate people.
You expect me to understand the subtle relationships between planty things?
Right now I have a pot on balcony that contains five little bean plants. I made them out of beans that were in my pantry. I have a bag of dried beans that potentially are hundreds, even thousands, of green beans. Whoa.

Here are my bean plants as of this morning.

Their names are Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Moe, and Larry. Meenie is the one at the top left that's just barely a sprout. He's my special needs bean, but he's coming along. The others range from one to three inches in height and sport two pretty green leaves each.

I made these beans.

To tell the truth, I don't have much of a green thumb. If I had two plants, and I lavished attention on one and completely ignored the other one, the odds are that after a few weeks you wouldn't be able to tell them apart. That's why I was so stoked when the beans that I threw in a glass with a wet paper towel a couple of weeks ago, totally on a whim, actually sprouted and began to sport tiny roots. I felt like Frankenstein when the monster finally twitched.

It's a legume! A LEGUME!
There is every chance that my bean-babies will wither and die before ever producing a single pod. But I'm hopeful that I may actually produce enough beans for me and Precocious Daughter to eat. Hope is a wonderful, crazy thing.

And you know what? If my little plants do mature into bean machines, I can leave a few of them unpicked. They'll ripen and harden, and when I open them up, they'll contain...beans.

Good for my heart.
You guys, it's the Cycle of Bean.

Call me naive, call me stupid. Just don't call me late to dinner when beans are on the menu.

Or beans, for that matter.

If Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Moe, and Larry don't die, I'll keep posting pictures.


  1. Holy shit. You made beanie babies...

  2. Fun fact: my beans were the only ones in my class that didn't sprout.

  3. Fun fact: my beans were the only ones in my class that didn't sprout.

  4. Cheesus, I nearly ran away and never came back when I saw that Drumpf 2016 sticker. My eyes. They burn.

    So when will your beans be ready for chili? Should we just come over next weekend?

  5. I remember planting bean plants in school, not to mention Sunday school, and, I think, just as something to do over the summer one year because of an article in National Geographic World--which was a slim version of National Geographic with kid-themed articles and no topless African women.
    It never occurred to me either that green beans and regular beans were the same thing. I knew they were both beans but I thought they were totally different varieties of beans, that green beans left alone would turn into bean-beans.
    The stupid thing is I've picked green beans.
    And now I have a craving for peas.


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