The Art of Eating Green Beans

You know what I hate? Canned green beans, that’s what. You know how their all limp and slimy and…ick.  How do you people eat those things? When I was a kid my parents had this policy that you had to finish what was on your plate before you could eat anything else. And one day I decided, screw it, I’m not eatin’ no stinkin’ green beans.

Dad said, “That’s fine. You can have them for breakfast.”

“Great!” I said, and ran off to play with my toys.

But the next morning I got up and there were the green beans sitting on a little plate in the fridge looking like some kind of goo monster that was just waiting for me to eat it so it could tear out my my stomach from the inside.

“There is no way I’m eating that,” I told my mom.

“That’s okay,” dad said. “You can have them for lunch. But you don’t eat anything else until you finish them.”

“Okay,” I said.

Fast forward to FOUR DAYS LATER.

I was hungry. Like really hungry. I had been staring down those green beans for days. I thought dad would eventually relent and let me have something else, but I he was steadfast, immovable.

Mom was cooking hot dogs on that fateful day. She had this little contraption called the Hot Dog Hut and you’d put some water in the bottom and and some hot dogs on this little rack inside, and the water would get hot and steam the hot dogs. Possibly not the greatest culinary achievement ever, but I can tell you I never wanted anything more than I wanted those hot dogs. And I knew what I had to do to get them.

With trembling hands I pulled those green beans out of the fridge. With each faltering step toward the microwave I was sure the green mass on the plate would come to life and devour my fingers with it’s slimy horror, but nothing happened.

I put the plate in the microwave and heated it up. I could smell that hateful stench coming from the microwave, and I prayed for something, anything to intervene so that I wouldn’t have to eat those green beans.

But all that happened was that the microwave dinged. I wanted to turn back, but those hot dogs smelled so good, and was so hungry. So I took out the green beans, Got a fork from the drawer and devoured the whole quivering mass in three huge bites.

And you know what? After all that waiting, after all that dread and horror, after building up the sheer terror of that moment in my mind…it was still totally disgusting.

To this day, I hate green beans. Hate ’em, hate ’em HATE ‘EM.

But I will eat them if I have to. Especially if there’s a hot dog in it for me.

Where am I going with this? Well nowhere really. It’s just a story I wanted to tell. I think there’s probably a moral in there somewhere about doing things you don’t like to do, to get to do things you do like to do.

But I don’t know. Maybe I just wanted to tell you all how much I appreciate my dad. I know it wasn’t easy for him to stick to his guns on something like that. He didn’t want to see me hungry. A lot of parents would have backed down before then.

But he knew how important it was for me to understand how to do the things I hated. He understood that I was going to have to learn how to conquer my fears. He knew the importance of sticking to his principles and not backing down when his kid pitched a fit.

So this post isn’t really about anything other than him. It’s not father’s day or anything, but he was and is a great dad. He made me into the man I am today, and I’m closer to him now than ever.

I just wanted all of you to know that.

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8 responses to “The Art of Eating Green Beans

  1. But have you ever tried fresh green beans? Canned-anything is gross. Fresh veggies are the best. Props to your dad; that can’t have been easy.

  2. For me, it was my mom’s tough, dried out pot roast. She made one every Sunday. One day I rebelled and refused to eat it. She made me sit at the table until I ate it. I sat for hours. Everyone else went off to do fun things. I finally tiptoed over to the garbage and dumped the small slice of roast in. Then I covered it up, and went to tell my mom that I had eaten it. She knew I hadn’t really, so she cut off another small piece and put it on my plate. Then she sat with me until I did eat it. She won, but so did I. From then on she made gravy…

  3. I remember that hot dog thing. Then they had a potato one and a hamburger one. I always ridiculed these gadgets as the best we could do with residual space age tech. Like the way string beans look in picture and also stir fried with olive oil, pinch of garlic and a coupla pinches of sugar.

  4. My mom had that same policy– finish everything on your plate. We were constantly striving to be a member of the Clean Plate Club. There were starving children in Africa, ya know. I sat at the table one night for three or four hours because I was too full to finish what was on my plate and not allowed to leave the table until I had. I swore that when I had kids I wouldn’t force them to clean their plates. Fortunately for any potential kids I might’ve had, I never had them. It took me decades to get over that belief that I had to finish everything on my plate. Funny thing now is that mom and I have weight issues and it’s now (in her eyes) not only acceptable but desirable to not be in the Clean Plate Club. Go figure.

  5. I got like, 5 different morals from just that one story. You have a good family. Thanks for sharing.
    But seriously…you hate canned green beans? Because I grew up weeding 30 min every day of the summer, then canning for a week…I totally loved store-bought food as a kid. I would savor every bite of that “slimy” goodness when I was served them at a friends house.

  6. How is turning you into a green bean-hater a positive thing?

  7. For me, it’s meatloaf and then I realized that I liked them after my grandma snuck them in my lunch box (fried and all). As for vegetables, I love them.

  8. I had that fight with tomatoes. I ate them, but immediately barfed them up, so I’m not sure what the final score was.

    I think it’s incredibly cool that you have such a great dad. What a precious gift.

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