Green Beans- Its what’s for dinner

 I recently outed myself—that I am in fact willing to lie to my kid. It turns out I am also totally OK with tomfoolery…. Steamed green beans are one my favorite things to eat. Not super exciting, but less fattening and more socially acceptable on the job than some of my other favorites, namely Chardonnay (as I have a company car, Chardonnay consumption is generally frowned upon during working hours). Also, quit hating.  I grew up in the Midwest, the daughter of parents from the East Coast, where vegetables taste like vegetables… What a surprise I had in store for me when I moved to the South (or God’s Country as my Georgia-born and raised husband claims)…. I knew I wasn’t in Kansas (Missouri) anymore when I attended my first F (for our last name, not anything else!) family Holiday Gathering (my in-laws have ‘gatherings’, my parents have ‘parties’. Guess who is better behaved?!) I did not recognize any of the dishes on the table, except maybe for the rolls.  Not one thing.  (I won’t go into detail here but just know that apparently it is acceptable for gravy to have HARD BOILED EGGS IN IT).  I made my way down the food table, with my then-boyfriend-now-husband whispering descriptions of what each dish was.  This system worked until we got to the green beans. Or should I say grey beans.  These beans were so cooked that the green had been cooked off of them.  Also? They were flavored with MEAT! I ask you—what is the point of eating a vegetable if it tastes like meat? If you want meat, eat meat. If you want a vegetable, eat a vegetable! Unbeknownst to me, cooking green (grey) beans like that is standard. Order green (grey) beans at any Southern style restaurant and that is what you get.  When we have my in-laws over for dinner, I call my Mother-In-Law at least a week in advance and let her know that I have started to cook her green (grey) beans.  (To be fair, they are just as horrified at my version of green beans as I am with theirs.  The crunchiness is not really a selling point to them. The first time I served green beans Julia Style, she very politely pulled me aside and expressed some concern that the green beans hadn’t been cooked enough.)
Since I love green beans. I had high hopes my 2 year-old daughter would embrace the correct way to eat a green bean (crunchy, with a little salt and garlic).   Out of the gate, things went well. She loved it when we mixed pureed green beans in her baby cereal. (Baby cereal, it turns out, is its own food, and not super soggy rice crispies as I had suspected.  Yes, I thought that is what everyone was talking about when they referenced baby cereal. One day, I asked another mother for clarification on this ‘baby cereal’, explaining that I thought it meant super super soggy grown up cereal.  Care to guess whom I asked?  My boss. That was super comfortable, let me tell you!) Back to Emma and the pureed green beans- she gobbled them up! As she moved to table food, I just knew she would love them as much as Mommy does… As it happened…not so much.  If by ‘liking’ something, one pitches a fit complete with Broadway style theatrics and emotions, then Emma LOVED THEM. So she wasn’t really digging Mommy’s favorite. (I would have settled for “Southern” green (grey) beans at that point).  One night, I was desperate. It was becoming a Battle of The Wills (anyone who knows me knows I am COMPETITIVE), so clearly I wasn’t going to lose this battle.  I thought long and hard, and then I enlisted that secret weapon that Mommies have in their arsenal—SUGAR. Yes, I did. I rolled those damn green beans in sugar and SHE ATE THEM AS FAST AS SHE COULD CRAM THEM IN. AND THEN LICKED THE PLATE. My husband was out of town, and at first didn’t believe me when I triumphantly relayed the news of my victory.  (I did come clean. He was impressed with my resourcefulness!)