[Sca-cooks] Fava bean recipes

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Mon Sep 10 09:32:50 PDT 2007

On Sep 10, 2007, at 11:53 AM, Christiane wrote:

> I have never seen anything with favas at an East Kingdom feast,  
> which seems a shame considering all of the period recipes featuring  
> favas. Admittedly I have not been to that many feasts, but I've  
> been to a few major and minor events over the years. Is it because  
> favas are harder to get than other beans, and there is a general  
> unawareness of them? Is it fear of favism?

I served 'em at EK Twelfth Night in January 2002, and they were, I  
understand, also planned for a local event in my Province this past  
weekend. I imagine they've been served in the intervening 5 1/2 years...

> I think I can understand why favas fell into disfavor among the  
> descendants of the Italian immigrants. Fava beans being the food of  
> the very poor, probably there were many who were happy to be able  
> to choose NOT to eat them, ever again. It was a status thing. So  
> familiarity with the fava faded away among these families. It did  
> from mine.
> So does anyone have any theories about why feasts that could  
> feature favas, do not?

One reason might be their comparative rarity in "American" cookery,  
compared to the various haricot beans, which might easily translate  
directly into availability in the markets, except for certain  
"ethnic" communities.

Another might be their comparative difficulty in preparation: unless  
you can get them split and hulled (canebyns, anyone?), they're kind  
of a pain in some cases because of their secondary skin which is  
rather tough. Much worse than, say, a chick pea. You might be able to  
cook them until really soft and then run them through a food mill,  
but in quantity, again, it's a fair amount of work. Unless you can  
get them hulled and split, but then, see above.

It might have a bit to do with favism and status, too. It does seem  
pretty clear that haricot beans really seem to have entered common  
usage in late period Europe before many other New World products, and  
even some very old traditional European classics, dishes like  
cassoulet and such, really seem as if they were simply waiting for a  
new bean to come around.


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