In Defense Of Lima Beans

In Defense Of Lima Beans

By John Comando

lima beans2


Oxymoron? As far as I’m concerned, there is no defense of lima beans.

And  I’m sure this article will leave a bad taste in the mouths of some of my readers who like them.

Hate is a very strong word. But, in no uncertain terms, I hate lima beans. My ex even got me a tee shirt once with a cartoon that said “hates lima beans,” just so no one would have a doubt. I wore that shirt with pride for many years.

When I told several friends about this blog’s topic, they tried to convince me that, with the right recipe, I could transform lima beans into a wonderful dish. Sorry, folks. That’s like saying you can remove the taste of liver by bathing it in something like hot fudge sauce, or the sliminess of Okra by disguising it in a bowl of curry, or change the funky taste of Papaya by mixing it with strawberries.

Just think of the food you detest the most. Then think of the food you love the most. Would you risk ruining the latter by mixing it with the former? I remember when I was a kid and sick. The doctor told my mom to mix aspirin with apple sauce or Hershey’s chocolate syrup. For years, I could eat neither. I’ve never known why someone would want to ruin a perfectly good ear of corn by mixing its kernels with lima beans. I guess that’s why they call it “suck”-a-tash.

I have nothing against most types of beans. I’ll eat fava beans, navy beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, green beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, cannellini and more. I’ll eat barbecued baked beans, refried beans, cassoulet, chili with beans, black beans with rice, chana, minced pork with fermented black beans, dim sum filled with sweet bean paste, and roasted garbanzos from a street vendor in Chapala.

Unfortunately, there is an odd combination of flavor and texture that makes lima beans thoroughly objectionable to my pallet. I’m pretty sure lima beans were put on earth to teach little kids how to turn up their noses. Or maybe to show them that no matter how bad calf liver tastes, there’s something else on the planet that tastes worse.

They never tell little kids that there are laws against cruel and unusual punishment. Kids shouldn’t have to make a tortured decision about whether to eat their lima beans or go to bed without dessert. I can just see some disgruntled thirteen year old pulling out the cell phone that their parents bought them and reporting them to “children’s services” for the dinner table equivalent of water-boarding.

But a lot of us were told that we should eat all of the food on our plates because there were starving children in China. I never understood how gagging on food at the table would help anyone. And I never thought, at the time, to try retorting, “Jeez mom, if you want me to eat everything on my plate, please don’t put lima beans on it…and how about calf’s liver too. Just send the stuff straightaway to China.”

By the way have you ever seen lima beans on a Chinese restaurant menu? I think the Chinese are an advanced civilization and passed on lima beans to us folk in the western hemisphere centuries ago.

There’s probably some person at NSA who likes lima beans and will discover this article and flag it for subversive thoughts. I can just see myself, the next time I go back to the states, meeting with some gnarly customs agent, who after scanning his computer screen, turns toward me with an inquisitive look and says, “Are you the guy who wrote the article about lima beans?

I’ll look back at him in incredulity and nervously whimper, “Yeah?”

Then he’ll activate his walkie-talkie and call for back-up. As two tough-looking agents arrive and put me in hand-cuffs, he’ll inform them with pride, “We got him…the lima bean guy.”  They’ll lead me off to some room in the bowels of the airport, open the door, sit me down at a table, and undo my handcuffs. Then with broad smiles, they’ll watch as another agent walks into the room and puts a bowl of lima beans in front of me, and says, “Now, eat your lima beans. You’re not going home ‘til they’re all gone.”


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