Let’s Eat — A Writer’s Guide to Cooking

It has been awhile since I have talked about beans, those oft-maligned, succulent morsels of nourishing goodness. Last time around, it was pinto beans, a Thursday favorite at our house.

Recently, I made a batch of Great Northern beans that turned out well. After soaking a pound of beans for about six hours, I rinsed them thoroughly and put them in a large pan with eight or so cups of hot water and started them cooking on medium heat. While the beans were cooking with the lid at an angle, I washed and prepared the other ingredients, which included the following:

• one fully ripe tomato
• three or four medium-sized carrots
• about four cloves of garlic
• several pieces of tender celery with a lot of leaves
• a handful of parsley
• four medium russet potatoes

First I chopped the tomato and put it in a bowl, then I peeled and chopped the garlic as finely as my patience allowed and added it to the tomato. Then I peeled the carrots and cut them crosswise as thinly as possible, directly into the bowl. (You can chop the carrots any which way and it will taste the same, but I think this looks better.) Then I chopped the celery leaves, and sliced the stalk portion in half the long way, and then chopped them in. I chopped the parsley. I prefer flat-leafed parsley, especially in soups, but didn’t have any, so I used the curly-leafed kind. Then I gave the ingredients a stir with my knife and turned my attention to the spuds, which I washed, peeled, and washed again, and then sliced crosswise about a quarter of an inch thick.

After the beans had cooked for about an hour, I dumped everything into the pan. I added a generous amount of salt and several shakes of black pepper, and then some dry purple basil. How much? I’m not sure. The basil I have is in leaf form, and I grind it up with my fingers over the pan until it “looks right.” It might be enough to fill a tablespoon, maybe a little more. After those seasonings were in, I added four or five tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Then I stirred everything together and lowered the heat so the beans would simmer rather than bubble too vigorously. After all, no one likes vigorously bubbled beans.

About an hour and a half and a few stirrings later, the beans were done. I turned off the heat and closed the lid. We served them a couple of hours later. The beans were tasty, and very colorful and appealing. Everyone had a bowl or two, then we moved on to the rest of the meal — which, for the life of me, I can no longer remember. Hmm. Might be a side effect of the beans.

Also by William Michaelian

Winter Poems

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-0-4
52 pages. Paper.
Another Song I Know
ISBN: 978-0-9796599-1-1
80 pages. Paper.
Cosmopsis Books
San Francisco

Signed copies available

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