Growing up, I was the kid in the house who loved when we had beans and cornbread for supper. Loved it!
I was also the kid who was at the table two hours after supper was done because I still had the required 3 beans sitting, cold, on my plate. Yes, I took only the exact number of beans I was told I was required to eat.
I HATED beans. (Though I did eat them when I was at other people’s homes because that was the polite thing to do.)
Yes, this meant I technically loved it when we had bean broth and cornbread for supper. What can I say, apparently it was not the flavor which turned me off. (Yes, it was sort of a running joke as years went by and I never gave in to actually eating the beans.)
Once I was off to college and had begun to grow even more in my frugalness, I didn’t want to spend extra money on the few meals I needed to eat outside of the dorm cafeteria. Sometimes I would spring for a pudding cup and pack of peanut butter crackers from the vending machine, but not regularly. After all, that cost me a whole $1.50!
My favorite money saving ideas were:
- take the extra piece of fruit we were allowed when leaving the cafeteria, resulting in my first attempts at shakes for breakfast
- skip breakfast and eat lunch early at the cafeteria where you could go back for more. That way I only needed two meals in a day
- to make the most of what I could get from the to-go cafeteria when I did eat there
Hummus was a new food for me. Well, sort of. I had heard of it, but it was not on anyone’s meal plan in the rural, Midwestern county I was from. Less you think there were no culturally significant food options growing up, we had lovely cuisine choices, such as:
- turtle soup – preferably cooked in a big pot over a fire, in the fall, with a gathering of friends
- burgoo – preferably cooked in a big pot over a fire, till you could not distinguish what anything really was, in the fall, with a gathering of friends. Hey, what can I say? If you are going to be cleaning out your freezer, may as well enjoy it in the company of friends.
- meatloaf, with ketchup on top
- green bean casserole
But, back to hummus. I knew hummus was good for you, that it was nutritious. I also knew that I liked the flavor but NOT the texture. I knew I could get a fair amount of it from the to-go cafeteria and add it to raw vegetables for a lunch/snack while between classes. What I did not know was what it was made of.
Imagine my surprise when I learned it was made from…well, chickpeas of all things. Yuck! Those plump, squishy, horridly textured chickpeas. BUT, I was cheap and looking to eat somewhat healthy. So, I sucked it up and found a way to each hummus – by putting it on the top of the vegetables so it did not touch my tongue as I ate it. And that is how I came to eat hummus.
After I graduate and got married, I had not fully gotten into trying new meals, or meal planning. Nor was I very educated in the use of coupons and shopping sales. My idea of keeping the budget in-line was to find the 5 or so meals I liked and rotate them.
I was okay with having pretty much the same thing for lunch every day. For weeks. No worries, there was variety – I would change the fruit I had with my sandwich and the flavor of yogurt. See, variety. 🙂
My husband, who did NOT grow up in the Midwest, but actually came from a place that used spices beyond salt, pepper, and ketchup, requested I learn some new recipes. Apparently he did not like the same 5 basic meals over and over. Hmm.
Over time we came to find that we both liked particular beans. Usually the same ones – black beans, lentils, baked beans, and limited amounts of chickpeas. I do buy green peas because I love my husband who loves early peas. However, that does not mean I also need to eat them. Now that I am a parent, I silently say nothing as I spoon them up on the kids’ plates, while leaving mine void of any green orbs.
As for other beans, well ….”Grandma makes great lima beans. Perhaps you can ask her to make you some next time you go there.”
to be continued…