That’s the question I received not too long ago while I was teaching a little class one day. I opened the class up for questions and I usually get the “What’s your bread recipe?” question. I answer that I could tell them, but I would swiftly have to cut their heads off. Top Secret you know:) But instead I got this question posed to me. The funny thing about it is, I didn’t hesitate for 2 seconds. I know what the best meal I’ve ever eaten is. I have a testimony of this meal. I’ve eaten it all the days of my life, and my children are now raving mad men for this meal. I will admit that there have been many a beautiful meal in my lifetime. How about the Firecracker Fish in Kauai years ago, or the first fish taco I ever had. Another is a turkey I practically molested with tons of butter and fresh herbs and cooked to complete perfection. Or even the halibut I ate at Hamilton’s this last weekend. They were all pretty wonderful meals, but the winner in my books is none other than fresh beans with red potatoes and bacon, sliced fresh tomatoes, and homemade corn on the cob. That’s it! Simple as can be, but there is nothing on this planet that I like better. Perfection on a plate.
Growing up we never planted a garden at my own home, but my grandpa Barker lived next door and he had the most beautiful garden. I spent most of my mornings a few summers in a row weeding that lovely little garden. Actually it was enormous! It took my sister Hollie and I weeks to weed the rows of parsnips. My grandpa fed all Pleasant View I believe. And thanks to his garden we were never in need of fresh produce all summer long. My grandpa would stop by early in the morning with the entire trunk of his little Mercedes full of goodness. He’d bring in grocery bag after grocery bag of stuff. It would all then be eaten up as quick as possible by our little family. One day I remember walking over to my grandpa’s house to beg a few more beans off him. I was in the mood for “The Perfect Meal”. I remember being downright mad as I walked home empty handed. I wasn’t mad at my grandpa. He was a generous soul and would have given me his last bean if he had one, but someone in the town of Pleasant View knew how wonderful his beans were too. For a few weeks in a row they had waited until my grandparents, and the rest of the neighbors as well, had gone to church and then rape and pillage my grandpa’s bean patch. They took them all. Week after week. I remember wondering why my grandpa hadn’t picked the beans on Sat. to stop the robbers. He would just leave a fruit laden bean patch ripe for the stealing. Finally it came to me. My grandpa must have wanted the robbers to have the beans. Maybe they needed them. Maybe they would starve to death without the beans. My grandpa was giving again to others. What a good man!
Even to this day I remember the story of my grandpa’s beans every time I’m in my garden. I love beans, but I love the lesson I learned from those beans as well. A kind generous heart will always make life sweet. Even if you have to go without beans once in a while:)