Thursday, July 30, 2009

Beans are your friends

Dear Readers,

I cannot begin to tell you the amount of e mail I got about my proposing a week without meat. There is a page on Facebook...

as well as e mail chains being sent around to promote this. I have heard from Peta and other organizations who want to formalize the events.

People are asking for shopping lists, what the rules are, can they eat fish etc. etc. etc.

Let me tell you what this is about for me, and if you participate what I hope it will be about for you.

Consciousness. Grocery store meat is factory farmed in ways that are not good for animals or the people that consume them. By giving it up you become conscious of what you are eating, you put aside meal crutches and pay attention to what you are consuming. Think about how hard the farmers work, meet them at the markets and find out about the food you eat.

When I was in Istanbul I arrived during Ramadan. During this period Muslims do not eat until Sunset. Not being Muslim I had breakfast in my my apartment and discreetly carried some water in a backpack but skipped lunch and broke fast with my Turkish brothers at sunset. The enormous appreciation for the food and the complete awareness of where it came from right down to thanking the lamb for giving us his life so that we may sustain ours had an impact. After 11 hours of not eating, I appreciated and thought about every bite. What goes into growing lentils, lemons, beans? How many people worked along the way to make our feasting possible?

As we broke the bread I appreciated the bread makers who had worked all day long near hot ovens without even a sip of water.

Forget the Boca Burgers, and don't worry about meat substitutes. If you are participating, don't think about what you are not eating. Appreciate what you are eating. I will beginning tomorrow share a daily diary, including recipes, preps, calorie content and nutrition breakdown. Don't worry, I will get enough protein.

And now to beans. I love them. I have loved beans ever since I was a child in New Orleans and had my first Red Beans and Rice. They are creamy, dense, fibrous, nutritious and easy to cook.

Haul out your crock pot.

Put a touch of oil in the bottom and toss in two large chopped onions and some garlic. Turn it on high. Go get ready for work. Now that you are out of the shower you can smell the onion. Toss in a pound of beans, red, black, white, pink, any color you like, and 8 cups water, give it several good doses of salt turn to low and put the lid back on. Go to work, school wherever you go.

Come home to a pot of melting tender beans.

I happen to love them hot from the pot folded in a tortilla with a bit of cheese and some raw sweet onion and cilantro.

I set some aside for a cold salad with corn and tomato, the rest I tend to have in the morning with melted cheese and a poached egg.

A humble pot of beans is as sustaining as the most expensive filet and you can't put a filet into a crock pot and walk away from it....unless you are into cremation.

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