What's in a Word | All Blogs

A more tasteful word

By Debra Dobbins

I don’t like beans.

Once when my mother was away for a week, my father discovered all sorts of beans languishing in our kitchen cupboards—navy beans, pinto beans, lima beans, kidney beans, we had ‘em all.

A product of the Great Depression, Dad decided this was a prime opportunity to teach my sister, brother and me not to waste food. We had beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner for five days straight. When Mom returned, we threw ourselves onto the living room floor and cried out, “Thank goodness you’re back. Dad’s been making us eat beans!"

As an adult, I am grateful to my father for the many life lessons he taught, including not wasting food, but I still cannot bring myself to consume beans. This is my loss, I realize, as beans are highly nutritious.

While scanning the recipes in today’s food section of the paper, I hit upon the solution: call beans a different name. So, soon I’ll try making “pasta e fagioli.” Translated, it means pasta and beans, but I’ll be sure to use the Italian name if family or friends ask, “What’s for dinner?”

If I just use Italian, I can bring myself to benefit from the excellent protein that beans fagioli provide.

Besides, this recipe actually calls for chickpeas. I'm sure that beans fagioli could be substituted, but I’ll stick with the chickpeas for now. Some memories fade slowly, after all….

The recipe is below. You may wish to try it, too. Buono appetito!



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