Green beans. There has never been a time in my life where I did not like them, but when I think long and hard about it, I have never really loved them. I always take the obligatory scoop of green beans almondine at Christmas, and I never go without nesting a little pile of green bean casserole next to my corn pudding at Thanksgiving. I eat them in my curries and stir-frys because, well, they’re there. And I’ll happily snack on a pickled one if I happen to come upon it in a well-festooned Bloody Mary. It’s not that I don’t like them at all, actually, but there’s something about the way their firm insides squeak against my teeth and their typically uninspired preparations that keeps me from going out of my way to make them, buy them, or eat them.
Who really goes bananas for green beans anyway? I’ve never heard anyone call them out as their favorite vegetable, they are seldom the star of any side dish that isn’t in casserole form, and memories of the wimpy and faded canned type have left a bad tinny taste in every child’s mouth, at one point or another. Only the French really glorify them all, serving an impossibly chic and skinny variety – as only the French know how – and declaring them ‘Haricot Vert.’