Why are lima beans so universally hated?
- veebee May 3, 2006 01:42 AM
I'm doing a little bean research and was trying to discover why people so often say they hate lima beans. It's almost a cliche really (I hate phony, mean people, brussels sprouts, liver and lima beans). Seriously, I did a search online on why people hate lima beans and there's tons of references just like that, but nobody says WHY. I like lima beans so I have no idea. Any of you hounds know why the bad rap for the nice lima?
I can only speculate that most people who hate limas were first exposed to beans out of a can. Same for spinach, asparagus, etc. I had the good fortune to be born into a family in which fresh vegetables were preferred, and cans were opened only seldom. I have loved limas since I was a wee little kid.
I don't know - I've always loved them, even as a child - perhaps the "haters" have had them overcooked.
I'm a lima bean hater.
My mother, who has never been an enthusiastic cook, used to serve us frozen mixed vegetables at least once a week. Carrots, green beans, peas, corn, and lima beans. I didn't mind the other vegetables, but I hated the lima beans.
For me, it's the texture. They're sort of grainy and dry on the tongue.
I think I know why people hate lima beans. I honestly don't know what tense, busy parents are serving their kids for dinner these days (KFC?), but when I was a kid the vegetable side dishes at dinner all came straight out of a can or little square freezer box. They were just plain boiled until over-cooked and repulsively inedible. Prepared this way lima beans are the vegetable from hell. In the canned form they even have a kind of unique metallic aftertaste.
It's really too bad. Lima beans, and their big brother butter beans, can be really wonderful when slow cooked with meats, onions and garlic, or when included in a thick vegetable soup. But when I was a kid, and I suspect for a lot of other people who profess to hate lima beans, it's a matter of post traumatic stress disorder. When you think about lima beans it's not images of unctuous meaty/beany cassoulet that spring to mind, but rather boiled, tinny, canned lima beans enmeshed with memories of working mom's rushed, tense weeknight dinners from your childhood.
I think for a lot of people, it comes from the frozen vegetable mixes that featured green beans, peas, carrots, corn, and lima beans. The first four all cook in about the same amount of time, but the lima beans, to be really good, need to cook a little longer. Hence, when all the other veggies were cooked just right, the limas would be undercooked.