Low Carbon Cookbook - Peak Beans
But even if we cannot avert a crisis, we can prepare some portion of the populace for the aftermath. We can build community resilience. We can seed the public conversation with information that will undermine the inevitable, reflexive effort to blame economic unraveling on handy scapegoats. Also, the future will be better if we protect at least some species, some habitat, some wild places, some water, and some topsoil before the energy-led crash of the economy, so that we have an ecological basis for ongoing existence in the absence of cars, planes, iPads, and cheap, abundant fuel.
In short, things will go better for us if we resist denial rather than engaging in it. (Richard Heinberg - Peak Denial)
So in the coming weeks, this slot will feature some of the themes we've been discussing in the course of the project, from simple and tasty bring-to-share dishes, to how to survive without a fridge, to discussions about the deeper and broader topics, such as land sovereignty or the effect of pesticides on our health.
And most of all we'll focus on the plants that sustain us, in mind, body and soul. Because no matter how hard it gets, our symbiotic relationship with the green vibrant world is what keeps us alive and happy. Plants are what many Transitioners have naturally in common, and many posts on this blog have focussed on their beauty, medicine and everyday gifts.
Last month at Sustainable Bungay's Green Drinks, Mark and I held a conversation about Plant Families. We focussed on five specific families and brought some wild and garden plants, so people could have a look at their signature leaves and flowers - the rose, mint, umbellifer, sunflower, and pea family. As I held up the jar full of pea flowers (from a neighbouring field), clover and broad bean, I realised we live in a country of legumes, those nitrogen-fixing fellows, that provide the world with such great staples. Beans are what we need to be eating instead of a meat and dairy-based diet, and learning to cultivate a taste for them.
"Josiah, would you like to say something about these beans?" I asked as I held up a familiar packet. So he set forth on the great saga of the East Anglian fava beans that everyone used to eat in England, until the New World provided other varieties and our diets changed to more exotic, everyday-a-feast day fare. Everyone was rivetted. It's paying attention to simple things, like beans, that brings you back to the land, that connects you with life and the history of the world, and compensates for the loss of any of the glamorous or cheap chemically-enhanced food we take for granted.
Today as a follow up on his original post on Great British Beans we're very happy to share Josiah's ace recipe for falafel, which we ate in the garden before a hard afternoon's work editing the Sustainable Bungay newsletter and manning a stall at the Bee Cause launch in Norwich. They were delicious served with a lettuce, rose petal and lemon balm salad and a minty yoghurt dip. Falafel is made throughout the Middle East (from fava, or chickpeas or both), and every street vendor has their secret recipe, which they normally keep to themselves. But, as they say, we live in extraordinary times . . .
Yum! Makes a great lunch-to-go stuffed in pitta too.
For further info and other fava bean recipes, check out the Great British Beans website. Beans are also for sale in Norwich Market at Folland Organics.
Photos: Take Back the Flour, Anti-GM Protest Rothamsted from Interview with Raj Patel in STIR; Grade A choice?: Solutions for Deforestation-Free Meat (2012); falafel in Josiah's garden (MW)