I have a new ritual Tuesday afternoons — and it’s all I think about that day. I pick up our large box of fresh vegetables and fruit from Abundant Harvest Organics. The truck is parked in back of the Women’s Center, the stacked black crates line the wall in a courtyard. Two bearded guys sit at a folding table with a sheet of paper, and when it gets dark, they use mini flashlights to check off our names. The crates are loaded with loose spinach, carrots with the tops that makes me think of Bugs Bunny, strong spiky rosemary, dirty potatoes, apples and pears and persimmons — and they’re separated by sheets of paper.
Each week, I also pay extra for treats: homemade wheat bread, NY strip steak, crunchy dark chocolate-covered almonds, Sierra Nevada raw white cheddar cheese and [cue horror movie screams] fresh organic cranberry beans.
So, I’ve never been much of a cook — my mom’s favorite story she likes to tell anyone who will listen was how when I was about 20 years old (yes, it was a summer when I was in college), I called her from my babysitting gig and asked her how to cook a hotdog. (Ew, hotdog.) Turns out, you just boil it.
But now I’m experimenting with these local organic veggies — and they taste so fresh and crisp, I’m not sure I’ll be able to buy veggies from a grocery store again. It’s kind of like having a washer and dryer in your apartment — you’ll never go back to using a laundromat again. In the last two weeks, I’ve made a delicious pot of kale, lentil and potato soup, a carrot and cumin salad, a beet and fennel salad and spaghetti with roasted tomatoes and zucchini. And I’m actually enjoying myself — I turn on NPR, drink a coffee or glass of wine, depending on the time of day, and get to work.
But I struggle with what to do with beans. And so when I got the 4 pound bag of cranberry beans, I thought: minestrone soup! Yes! I’ll have a pot that lasts all week.
Catch is, I had trouble finding a recipe that explained how to cook them before adding them to the soup. The recipe I chose didn’t say anything at all about cooking them first. And so I didn’t. And the beans turned out crunchy — you-might-break-your-teeth crunchy.
Which wasn’t so bad at first. But last night, I felt so tired, I thought maybe I was pregnant again [cue horror movie screams]. And this morning, A. woke up sick as can be.
“I’m pretty sure I poisoned you,” I said.
“You sure did,” he said. “It couldn’t have been anything else.”
And, later, “I hope I make it through work today.”
“Guess you’ll have to cook from now on. Every single night.”
[Cue horror villain smile.]