String Beans for Sister Fabian
James Lileks mentioned en passant that he sets aside particular days of the week for different subjects. I don't remember what he listed; it was awhile ago. But the idea stuck. I thought of his categories: probably one is "Cute Things Gnat Does/Says" and another might be: "Things That Bring Out the Curmudgeon in Me." They sound like him, don't they? And there's that obsession he has for matchbooks. Somehow I doubt he ever smoked. I pick up a matchbook and breathe a sigh of relief. I really don't need the stupid things anymore. He picks up a matchbook and it makes him nostalgic. Chacun à son goût, eh what?
Anyway, I remember thinking what a good idea that was! Now, no blank computer screen and blank mind -- just a matter of coming up with a subject a day. Unfortunately, I came up with lebenty-leven subjects so I may be awhile sorting them down into just seven. All three regular readers here may or may not notice the morph of my subject days. It's not on their A list, though, so I'm safe.
Today started to be about recipes and then I decided that was too confining. Writing about food is much more fun. It may be more fun than actually eating it, but for damn sure it's more fun than cleaning up after dinner.
Dinner for me used to be supper. It happened every single blessed day at 6:00 p.m. To this day, fifty years after leaving Saint Mary's Orphanage at 1211 Ocean St., it still seems to me that this is the proper time to eat, even though I'm not usually hungry then. I've forgotten some of the days' menus, though I do recall Thursday was liver...which fortunately, I liked. On Sundays we had green beans, which I loathed then. They were canned, which were not like Momma made, and they were slimy. Never mind, all two hundred and fifty pounds of Sister Fabian stood there rolling her eyes until all the slime was gone. Now I love green beans.
I found out last month that Sister Fabian continued to struggle with that two hundred and fifty pounds long after I left her sight. They even sent her to have a gastric by-pass, hoping it would help. But it didn't. Essentially she died of her obesity: a brilliant mathematician with a rebellious body. Sister Fabian, if you can hear me, when we were on the playground, I’m sorry my elbows were so sharp when I used to lean on your knees and ask questions. That’s what I remember: you rolling your eyes as I gagged those canned green beans and saying “Child, you have such sharp elbows. Don’t lean so hard..”
My second-youngest grandson is obese. The first time his mom went into the hospital, he ballooned. When she died, he became even heavier. I feel such sadness for him. When Shelagh died I offered to bring him to the doctor and pay for any special foods or counseling. No go. For those of you inclined to prayer, send a few for this little boy who hates how he looks and has to endure a lot of teasing.
Green Beans for Sister Fabian:Sister Fabian, if it’s not too much trouble, please keep an eye on my grandson. He could use someone to watch over him. And you’ll know his own particular Purgatory...
1 lb fresh green beans or Italian pole beans (the latter should be small and not left on the vine too long), left whole (just chop off stem ends)
a tomato, diced
a clove of garlic, thinly sliced
2 scallions, shredded
2 sprigs sage
¼ package of artificial sweetener
salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil spray
After you have heated it a bit, lightly spray a saucepan with oil.
Sauté thinly sliced garlic and shredded scallion for a few minutes until wilted.
Add tomato and sage. Stir until softened.
Add green beans, a little water, and seasonings.
Cover and cook on low until green beans are done to your liking.
Remove the sage if you must, or chop into the mix.
Serve at room temperature.
If you must, drizzle a bit of olive oil over all..