In praise of the soybean

My dad grew edamame before it was cool. We called it by another name back then.

In the garden he claimed from a Minnesota meadow, he planted rows of soybeans, poor man’s food he remembered from his boyhood. When the plants died in the late summer, he uprooted them by the dozen and laid them in our yard. Rows and rows of tables stacked high with brittle stalks. How many were there? We pulled the sharp, hairy pods from the plants and my mom boiled them until the beans inside were bright and ready, jewels of goodness we pinched from the pods until our thumbs were sore. The mosquitoes chewed holes in our legs, and we stood on one foot so we could scratch with the other.

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When I was an adult, I went to a posh restaurant and was surprised to find edamame on the menu; the waiter grinned when I pronounced it correctly (“Very nice. Usually nobody knows what that is”), but I was raised on it in the wilds of Minnesota and when it arrived on my plate I found they hadn’t even bothered to pinch it out of the pods, but oh it was good, packed and popping with goodness, and since then I have found it at my supermarket shelled or not; an easy choice for this girl who remembers how

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The mosquitoes chewed holes in our legs, and we stood on one foot so we could scratch with the other. We pulled the sharp, hairy pods from the plants and my mom boiled them until the beans inside were bright and ready, jewels of goodness we pinched from the pods until our thumbs were sore. How many were there? Rows and rows of tables stacked high with brittle stalks. When the plants died in the late summer, he uprooted them by the dozen and laid them in our yard. In the garden he claimed from a Minnesota meadow, he planted rows of soybeans, poor man’s food he remembered from his boyhood.

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We called it by another name back then. My dad grew edamame before it was cool.

 

14 thoughts on “In praise of the soybean

  1. I’s confused by the doubled paragraphs? Some effect I don’t know about? Anyway I LOVE steamed soybeans and always get them at all-you-can-eat sushi joints!

      • Unless I’m missing something, but it doesn’t read forward because it’s jarringly repetitive. It’s jarringly repetitive so it doesn’t read forward and backward, unless I’m missing something.

      • Ahh I get it, thanks for your explanation which of course you didn’t have to give.. now if you ever write about night time I hope you won’t make the background black in addition to the words :0 You’re free to do that with my comments though..

  2. What a fun post! I discovered the garden variety several years ago. Its one of those rare vegetable that whole family loves. I would blanch and freeze the entire pods. Took up lots of space but way less time since shelling them is so tedious. Out of the freezer, into a boiling pot of water and straight to the plate still in the shell. I think popping the little jewels out of the pods is why the kids like them so much. Oh yum. I wish the ones I planted last summer had actually come up.

  3. I’ve helped shell these many years ago in my Grandpa’s back yard with siblings and cousins. Yes, the piles were huge. Some of them always went to the mission where my aunt worked. I didn’t know the other name for them. I’ll have to look for some. Yum!

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