Broad beans are such a treat amongst my family. We rejoice whenever a dish in which they feature comes up in conversation. Their sweet, earthy flavour and soft texture send us all into fits of rapture. More so my mum, who until her mid-twenties, had never experienced the joy that is a double-podded broad bean.
As a child mum was fed bowls of bitter, pale, un-podded broad beans whenever she stayed with one particular relative. Naturally she developed a strong dislike for these unpleasant beans, and avoided them at all cost. It wasn’t until dining at a restaurant as a newlywed that she encountered some delightfully soft, blissful bean-shaped morsels. Upon beseeching the waiter to identify these assumingly foreign, heavenly bites, and hearing the words “broad beans” spat out ever so patronisingly, mum’s culinary world changed forever. She discovered a whole new and exciting side to the humble broad bean. All those years she simply needed to peel away the hard exterior to find a soft, quietly confident, delicious bean. Tedious is the process of double-podding, yet it is oh so worth it.
For mum’s birthday last month, we had a wonderfully vibrant breakfast of smashed broad beans and peas, fetta and mint with toasted sourdough. We celebrated not only her birthday, but the beauty of the bean (with homegrown beans, no less), and the way it re-entered her life after years of banishment to reclaim it’s rightful, esteemed position.
Dad bought mum this gorgeous antique fan. Isn’t it beautiful?