Early this morning as I was getting out of bed, three-year-old Pinta stood beside me in her pink pajamas, looked down, and said, "There are nails in the floor!"
"Yes, there's a line of them," I said, "see," pointing to a straight line of tiny steel tips in the wooden planks. "There's probably beam under there."
"A bean?," said her older sister Nina, who had joined us.
No, "A beam, with an "m" not an "n," I replied. "A beam is a thing that holds up buildings. A bean is what you ate for dinner last night."
Steamed Green Beans
Do vegetables need a recipe? If you're ambitious, I suppose. I've always admired "Chez Panisse Vegetables," by Alice Waters, but I've never had the time to open it up.
To make green beans, wash and slice the tips off as many as you feel like eating. Then bring a pot with about an inch of water in to a boil. Use a vegetable steamer if you have one, or just toss the beans in. Cover and cook for about five or so minutes, until they are as tender as you might like.
I take them plain, but I know many people, including my two little ones, who like them with butter.