And that's why I love the favas. They remind me that I don't have to barrel through my experience, that it's not all about the finish line and the quickest way to get there. I love it when cooking is a meandering process that flows throughout my day. And I've grown to love kitchen tasks that require me to slow my pace, to sit down even, and work with my hands.
My fava pod pile is enormous but in the end my yield will be considerably smaller, maybe 4 cups, and it will take about an hour of shucking, blanching, cooling and peeling to get there. All this before I can even get started cooking! How wonderfully, beautifully inconvenient! It would obviously be quicker to pull a bag of something from the freezer and sometimes that's just what I have to do. But I treasure these fava bean times, these inefficient foods that take so much effort but then pay back with so much flavor and satisfaction.
So if you have a chance this weekend, sit at a table with a big pile of favas and start popping the beans from their pods. If a loved one is near, allow your activity to draw them in for the kind of quiet talk that comes when two people are sitting together with busy work on a quiet afternoon. This is an ancient way of being and relating, one that human beings have partaken in since, well, since we started to eat. I find it quiets my mind and settles my heart, bringing a gentle joy that is as sweet and sustaining at the food itself. Sitting around the table, shelling favas and talking about politics and prom dresses may not be efficient, but it is exactly how I want to spend my afternoon.
Bonus Video: How To Shell Fava Beans from Mariquita Farm in Watsonville, CA.
(Image: Dana Velden)