Escarole and Beans
Invite People In To Your Food Weirdness
People with disordered eating patterns, like me, are prone to eating alone, secretly. Eating alone makes me feel sneaky, a guilty pleasure. I can eat as weirdly as I want. When I was at the height of my eating weirdness I would eat an entire large honeydew melon in one sitting. It was sweet and filled me up but had almost no calories. And it was huge! So it took a long time. I liked stringing out my meals. It was a way to avoid feeling empty.
I still look forward to meals alone when I can eat my weird meals: secretly, silently, selfishly. However, it has recently occurred to me that my weird meals are not so weird and that maybe it would be nice to share my weird meals with other people and not worry that they think I am weird. One of my favorite dinners when someone in my family is out and I don’t have to make a more formal family meal is a large plate of escarole and beans. It satisfies my desire for a large quantity of food. It is tasty and healthy and very satisfying. No one else in my family is interested in eating this dish with me. My family is used to my odd food choices, but other people are not. Now when a child’s friend or a niece or sister-in-law want to stop by on “Escarole and Bean Night,” instead of coming up with an excuse about why they can’t come over I invite them in. They don’t necessarily share my meal – but I share with them some of my eating issues. I can laugh at myself and share more of myself, which deepens my relationships. On a recent night, instead of setting up my son and his friend at a separate table with their pizza, the three of us ate together. Them with their pizza and me with my escarole and beans. And we talked about God. And what we hope and believe about God. (I believe that holiness is the love between people.) Amazing things happen when you invite people in.
Escarole and Beans
1 large bunch of escarole (1 lb or more), leaves washed and spun dry
2 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
3-4 T olive oil
1 jar of cannellini beans, imported from Italy preferred, approximately 12 oz
Sautee garlic and escarole in olive oil. Take your time with this process. The more you sautee the escarole the richer the flavor. I do it on low heat and let it cook for about 30 minutes, while I do other things in the kitchen.
Add beans and their liquid. Sautee the beans with the escarole for another 10-15 minutes.
The desired consistency, for me, is not too much liquid. This is different than the more traditional Italian version which is much soupier. The escarole exudes water. You want to cook off the liquid and almost brown the escarole and beans in the olive oil.
Experiment with cooking times, temperatures, and escarole:bean ratio!
1 very large serving, or
2-4 normal servings, with bread to soak it all up