Monday, July 23, 2012

Bean Therapy

When I was a kid, my paternal grandma had a wonderful garden.  She had everything from corn to peppers to zucchini, even concord grapes that I was fascinated with as they grew on the vine.  She would make homemade grape jelly and pickles and preserve stuff for the winter.  Of course there were also beans.  Before we could can them, we'd need to snap the ends off.  I was 5 or 6 years old and I'd sit in grandma's kitchen with her and huge bowls of beans and we'd sit in silence except for the sounds of snapping as we each worked our respective bowls.

When I'm stressed, if there's a stray piece of bubble wrap around, I sit there and pop, pop, pop the stress away.  I was having a bit of a day Saturday as our plans were getting rearranged a bit due to home improvement gone awry.  Earlier in the morning we hit the farmers market and I got a big bag of beans to prepare with dinner that night for friends.  As I heard the sounds of chaos outside, I could feel my blood pressure rising.  I needed bubble wrap...I had none available.  Then I remembered I needed to snap the beans and do a little blanching to save myself some time.

I started with my bag o' beans.

Each bean has an end that needs to be snapped.

I snapped off each end.

By the end, I had a small bowl of green bean ends...

...and a wonderful bowl of beans to prepare for dinner.
I also had a normal heart rate and my stress went down.

So if you ever have a stressful day and need some cheap therapy to keep your sanity, bean therapy is a great way to go.

What form of food prep relaxes you?

====================
Like this post? Don't miss another one...subscribe via email or RSS feed. (Because you're cool like that!)

18 comments:

  1. It used to be baking, but these days I enjoy chopping up food for stir-fry or a salad. And if I have time I like to hand knead bread when I'm stressed.

    We had a good crop of green beans from our garden and I actually had enough to snap and freeze a few!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have to say that lately food prep is stressing me out! We joined a CSA and are getting a lot of greens which have to be blanched and frozen. Every weekend we spend a couple of hours preparing and/or freezing whatever we bring home. Although I love watching my freezer fill up with my soup fixins for the winter, the pressure of making sure we don't lose any of our bounty due to neglect is making weekends tough. I can't imagine what it must have been like for the pioneer women!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh, how this brought back memories of snapping beans with my grandma! Sitting around the huge farmhouse formica topped table with a gigantic metal basin full of beans in the middle and we would snap away for hours. It was fun and relaxing. I usually take a nap or read a book now days for relaxation.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Music, not classical, soft harps, or anything of the kind. I put my headset on (sometimes jump on the treadmill) and crank up the volumn and sing. Rock, mostly, a little Country or Irish, music that I know the words to so I can sing a long at the top of my lungs. After a stressful day of work I'll hop in my car and before I leave the parking lot the music is blaring and I'm singing. By the time I pull into the drive way, 20 minutes later, I'm a new person. I can't carry a tune in a basket but I sing like a rock goddess when I'm in my car or on the treadmill...sometimes while I vacuum.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Maybe get yourself one of these: http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/982f/

    ReplyDelete
  6. WOW...this brought back so many memories! My grandma and I used to do the same thing. She would can the green beans for winter, so we would snap them endlessly during the summer. I had never thought about this as therapy, but now that you brought it up I am going to have to try it!

    P.S.: My grandma has been gone for a little less than a year now, and I miss her so much it aches. The memory you brought back with your blog was a sweet one. Thank you for helping me remember a very happy time in my life I spent with her. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. For me, whacking the hell out of chicken breasts with a cast iron skillet is a major stress reliever in the kitchen! lol!!!!
    Seriously, I am happiest in the kitchen when Meowdaddy and I are sharing the meal prep. Since he works nights this only happens once or twice a week, unless I keep really weird hours, like I tend to do during the summer. He always wears one of my vintage aprons and cranks up his transistor radio on the counter (we have a great R&B oldies station here on AM) and we take turns slicing, dicing, pouring and cleaning up as we go. All 5 kitties hang around watching because they all think they get fed when Daddy's in the kitchen. As awful as the sound on the AM transistor is, it's somehow comforting and a throwback to us both listening to the radio growing up and reminding me of my grandma's transistor radio in the kitchen (on the news station).

    ReplyDelete
  8. Not only your post, but some of the comments really brought back some memories for me. But one of the wonderful sounds in the kitchen for me is the pop, pop, pop as the canning jars seal. I love looking at a table full of home-canned tomatoes, beans or fruit preserves and knowing I really accomplished something. Other than a fling with jalapeno jelly a couple of weeks ago, I haven't been able to do that for years...no time or place to grow the garden, much less can the produce. Next summer, maybe!

    ReplyDelete
  9. At this time of year, on almost any evening, you will find my parents and grandmother sitting on their shared back porch shelling peas or snapping beans. Sometimes there's conversation, sometimes not. It's very peaceful.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I did this a lot as a child with my grandma too. :) She didn't have her own garden, but we ate these frequently. I am going to have to get some next time I see them.

    This isn't really food prep, but I sometimes enjoy taking inventory in the pantry and fridge and arranging everything so it's neat. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. So if I send you my green beans, you will snap them for me?? ;)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I used to love snapping beans with my grandma too - also, whenever I smell fresh cut canteloupe, it brings me right back to her kitchen table. :D

    ReplyDelete
  13. It amazes me the many ways that food means comfort to us. Just the memories of food prep bring me comfort. One in particular is not so much a sound as it is an activity. We would regularly go strawberry and apple picking. Mom made aprons for us kids to wear so that we could climb the trees and have a place for our stash. I used to try every apple in the orchard. I got so good at telling the apples from one another that I can still to this day, look at an apple and tell you the variety. But I do agree that the popping of the canning jars as they seal is a favorite of mine as well. The one that must be mentioned is when we went strawberry picking and mom was tired. She decided to scoot on the ground to do her picking. Needless to say, upon arrival at the car, he backside was a pure smear of strawberries. Funniest part of all though, it went through her pants and underwear to her skin. She was stained a lovely strawberry red for days!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Well, my version is a bit different as my mom sat me down to do this task. Not a 'together thing' but me helping gout. I did always enjoy it, though. I haven;t picked up green beans yet this year, and now I think I will. We've got a great farm stand up the road from us. YUM!

    ReplyDelete
  15. That's really funny--it never even occurred to me to do that. i always just cut the ends off with a knife. Your way sounds better, especially on a stressful day. I hope your weekend got better from there!

    ReplyDelete
  16. This post is responsible for me buying green beans at the grocery store yesterday. See what you've done? ;)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I just did snap beans last night. Yum!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I actually wanted to comment on your weigh in but couldn't find out how to do it! Up 2 is crap of course BUT you have done so well so far and if you know how it got up 2 then YOU CAN CHANGE IT this week, please keep motivated you are doing so well! Good luck, YOU CAN DO IT!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to comment! I appreciate thoughtful readers like you! If your comment doesn't show up right away, check back in a few minutes. I promise it'll get posted. The system can get a little glitchy. (Rude or spammy comments will be deleted. Fair warning.)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...