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Broad bean

fava beans, one of favorite legumes in Sicily

1. Waste

Fresh, still in their pods, is undoubtedly the best to buy your broad beans. No better guarantee, no better way to conserve them. Remember that from one kilo of bean pods you’ll obtain no more than 150 grams of beans. The pods are apparently an excellent element in your compost bin. Too bad if you live in an apartment. For the hoarders among you, there are some excellent recipes to recycle the pods.

Pythagoras, enemy of the fava bean

2. Pythagoras

Triangle man Pythagoras did not like fava beans. Actually he hated them with all his life. His disciples were forbidden to eat touch and even look at them. The repugnance cost him dearly. With a murderous bunch at his heels he interrupted his stampede in front of a bean field. Rather than crossing it, he halted. His persecutors, a trifle surprised,  killed him. A very likely motivation for this immense aversion came from the fact he discovered ‘favism’ some years before. Out of protest beans still refuse to grow right-angled.

3. Favism aka bean disease 

‘Favisme’ or jaundice. G6PDD if you are a scientist (Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency).  This is caused by, yes you guessed, fava beans. Once affected, your skin turns yellowish and your urine colors dark. Other symptoms are feeling tired and shortness of breath. So next time you want to deny having overdone it in the pub the previous night, blame it on the fava.

jaundice or favismo
Hannibal Lector, liver fava bean and chianti

4. Hannibal

There are many ways of cooking and preparing fava beans, ranging from raw to boiled, from entire to mashed, but the best known one is probably suggested by Hannibal Lecter in ‘Silence of the lambs’ : liver, fava beans and a nice Chianti

5. Saint Joseph and the bean

This man’s CV is pretty impressive: legal father of Jesus Christ, wife to Mother Mary. Patron saint of carpenters, virgins, refugees and fathers. Saint Joseph is also the fava saint. Overhearing the people’s prayers during a winter famine, fava beans grew abundantly. Early spring is the period these lovely plants grow and ever since, the 19th of March is celebrated with various broad bean preparations. Traditionally peasants were offered ‘macco‘ (fresh fava bean puree) at the end of the fava harvest. It’s a gas.

Saint Joseph with child, fava bean in the back

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