Sunday, November 11, 2007

Slow food

I love the idea of the slow food movement. Celebrating the history and taste and context of food - it's a mindful and thankful act. But I do sometimes wonder how many people actually prepare some of those slow foods. Planting and tending takes time, it's true, and the husbandry takes decades, centuries even, but I'll not under-estimate the time it takes to cook broad beans. It's a fiddly process. The picking takes time as I fumble about the over-planted plot, trying not to break the stems. Then, being go-ahead culinary types, we'd never dream of just podding the beans - it's double peeled or it's nothing. So I sit podding - a lovely past-time out in the courtyard with my baby girl helping

but not something to do when there's an hour before dinner and nothing's done. And then I briefly boil and peel them again again. Mixed in with lamb and apricot and couscous, they are divine - a vibrant, sixties pistachio, and smooth the sweet and a little bit nutty. There's a real sense of accomplishment in cooking with broad beans - hours of work, bushels of beans and two handfuls of deliciousness to savour.

Dad and I took the girls to Woolmers (an old estate built of government favours and convict labour) the other day, and I had a serious case of garden envy when I saw these:

My broad beans come from seeds I've saved for years from a now forgotten variety, and I had decided to rely on my own efforts for seeds from now on, but oh, these are too lovely and jewel bright to exclude from the garden because of some dull principle.


Jenny said...

Must have been harvest the broad beans day today because I picked ours too.

Anonymous said...

Those red broad beans are stunning. I have only ever grown the ordinary ones with white flowers.


meggie said...

Those flowers are just gorgeous. Are the beans dark?

gary said...

Our broad beans finished a few weeks ago. The process of collecting, shelling, par-boiling, peeling then cooking is definitely slow food.

It's almost cathartic, and enjoyable to do every now and again.

Regards, Gary

Em said...

What a brilliant crimson! Slow food is a treat sometimes :)

Kris said...

I think slow food is a treat all the time but it does take time. But Gary's right, there is something, meditative rather than cathartic for me, about sitting down and doing the task. It was nice with Nell around but it would have been lovely on a verandah, chatting with friends. Context makes a difference in food and work.