But what about the beans?
WDC likes to cook with seasonal produce. So a salad Niçoise presents a problem. Normally, salad Niçoise is made with beans. This means I can only eat a Niçoise when beans are in season. Although the English season is long enough to eat plenty of salad Niçoise – it does not start until quite late in the summer. So what do I do if I want my Niçoise earlier?
I use broccoli instead. Ahh, I hear you say, broccoli has a similar season to beans (June, July August), my broccoli might come from Spain or Italy.
Okay, I have to make some exceptions…
But supermarket shelves are stacked high with beans all year round. Are the supermarkets hoodwinking us into thinking that the beans are ‘seasonal’ even in winter? Well, growing beans in countries with hot climates can replicate the English growing season all year round – in a globalised world economy we can all have a perpetual supply of summer beans! But I have issues buying produce from Africa or South America. I worry about the air miles and I worry about politics affecting the cash flows to farmers.
Ahh, I hear you say again, you must buy avocados all year round – and what about all those bananas and pineapples – they cannot be grown in a non-tropical country.
Yes, more exceptions I’m afraid…
A desperate attempt to maintain seasonality in cooking…
Despite global trends, we should all try to maintain some seasonality in our cooking. It does not seem right to eat beans all year round – when we can wait with eager anticipation for the summer crops. We shall enjoy them all the more.
Seasonality helps us to appreciate a sense of time and place – to locate ourselves on a culinary calendar that ebbs and flows with the natural rhythm of the seasons. Take beans. To grow your own beans is a pure delight. They are easy and bountiful. The growing, harvesting and eating all express the quintessential essence of ‘summer’. And nothing tastes quite so special.
So if my ethics and concerns about seasonal food are a little leaky, I will hold out for at least beans – and buy them only when they are in season.