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Warm lima bean salad | Earliest memory #1

Posted Oct 08 2012 10:00am


I've been writing this blog since 2007, and since then, a lot of recipes have been shared on its pages. Most of them probably get buried and are never seen again, but many are favorites at our house, and are cooked over and over. This week I decided to re-post a few of our favorites, and since I'm digging into the past for recipes, I thought I'd also dig into the past for old memories, and share a few unusual recollections. Have you ever been asked about your earliest memories? Here are some of mine.

I adored my maternal grandmother, and spent quite a lot of time at her house. In fact, my family lived with my grandparents for a while before we moved into our first house when I was 15 months old, though I don't remember sharing their home. My earliest memory is an incident involving my grandmother (Nannie) and nap time. It was my nap time, and Nannie placed me into the crib that was in the middle bedroom of her house. I can still picture it in a fuzzy sort of way. She covered me up and kissed me before going downstairs. It was very warm in the room and I got too hot, but didn't know what I should do. I was worried about kicking off the blanket because my grandmother had covered me, and I believed she knew what was best. I wondered if she would be mad? Then I got an idea — if I very carefully pushed the blanket against the crib edges, as neatly as I could, she might not mind. I did my best to arrange the blanket against the two sides and foot of the crib and when it was as neat as I could make it, I went to sleep.

I never told anyone about this until years later when I was an adult with kids of my own, and my grandmother and I were talking about memories. We decided to exchange early memories to see if we shared any of the same ones. When I told her this one, her jaw dropped, and she practically went into shock. When she finally recovered herself, she said she remembered it well. When she had come to check on me and had seen the folded-back blanket she'd felt horribly guilty. She said, "I felt like I'd tried to suffocate you! I thought to myself, this baby is smarter than I am. How did I not realize it was too warm for the blanket?" I think she still felt bad after all those years! But then she said, "How can you remember this? You were only 12-months old!" That was certainly a surprise to me. I knew I was young since I was sleeping in a crib, but I didn't know my actual age. Babies have complex thoughts before they have the language to express the thoughts — something to keep in mind when caring for young children!

That's my earliest confirmed memory — I knew I was a baby but I never knew how young until the conversation with my grandmother. If you have old memories, chances are someone shares them with you and can provide more details. I encourage you to find out.

Today's recipe is warm lima bean salad, in deference to the too-warm baby. I read somewhere that lima beans are good for your bones, so I disregarded the fact that I've never been fond of limas, and used them in a salad. I've changed my mind, and now I think that lima beans taste good! Limas always seem to me to be dirtier than other beans, but after soaking it's pretty easy to rub the beans together in a colander to get the dirt off.

Warm lima bean salad (no added oil but feel free to add some if you wish)
serves 10-12 as a side dish, with leftovers
The amounts in this recipe are flexible and open to interpretation.
  • 1-1/2 cups dried baby lima beans, soaked overnight, drained, rinsed and cooked with fresh water, then drained (or 2 to 3 16-ounce cans cooked lima beans, rinsed and drained)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons stone ground prepared mustard
  • 2 tablespoons grated palm sugar (or 2 tablespoons dark evaporated cane juice)
  • 2 large carrots, small dice (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, (about two teaspoons)
  • 1 can artichoke hearts in water, drained, rinsed if desired, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 cups thinly sliced green onions
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, or to taste
  1. Cook the lima beans in your preferred way. You can simmer them in a large, covered pot until they are tender, or cook them in a pressure cooker. The pot will take about two hours, and the pressure cooker will take five to seven minutes. You could also buy them already cooked, in a can. (two to three cans) If you cook the beans, save the cooking liquid to use as soup stock.
  2. Make the dressing by mixing together the lemon juice, mustard and sugar.
  3. In a large skillet or wok, steam the garlic, carrots, corn, peas and artichokes in about 1/4 cup of water until the carrots are bright orange and a little tender, and the frozen veggies are cooked, about three to five minutes. Add more water if needed but aim to have all the water evaporate.
  4. Add the drained beans and cumin. Cook until beans are warm.
  5. Turn off the heat and mix in the onions, parsley, and dressing.
  6. Add the salt, to taste.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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