Monday, January 25, 2010

I Ate A Lima Bean

My friend Greg tells a story about when he was a guest at some tribe in Peru (or Belize or Bolivia or New Jersey) and as a way of honoring him and welcoming him they served him grubs. Yes, grubs. That’s not a typo. I didn’t miss understand him. Grubs. The slimy, bug things. Grubs.


BUT like any well-trained missionary knows, the LAST thing you want to do is offend your hosts (or in this case scantily clad men with large spears and a possible penchant for cannibalism). So Greg did what he should – he ate the grub.

Take THAT Survivor contestants!

Recently I was faced with a similar situation. Well sorta. Well… ok… not exactly. I wasn’t with some tribe in another country, but rather in a very lovely kitchen in Chapin. And the folks I was with certainly weren’t scantily clad, but dressed rather nicely. The only spears nearby were butter knives and though I’m not 100% positive, none of them have a fondness for human flesh.

But when dinner was served there they were, leering at me in all their green, slimy glory… lima beans.



I hate beans. All beans (with the exception of the cocoa and coffee bean once they are refined to their sweetest, purest form). Butter, pinto, red, black, kidney, garbanzo, and yes, especially lima – I have a great disdain for all. I have managed to go to multiple countries were beans are a staple and served at every meal and NOT eat even a tiny smidge of a bean. I have become a master at hiding them under rice (which I dislike ALMOST as much as beans), acting distracted when they are being served and thereby “missing” my portion or, and this takes some planning, claiming to not be hungry and then later scarfing down a peanut butter granola bar.

I REALLY hate beans.

But there I was. And there they were. A big bowl of them.



To not take any would be rather obvious. To take just one (yes I considered that) would look stupid. The rest of the food did not offer any possibility of hiding them. And drat them, they had no dog that I could somehow feed them to when I thought no one was looking. I resolved to put just one serving spoonful on my plate and PRAY I could eat them without getting ill.

I swear their serving spoons are the size of a Smart Car. But I did it. I avoided the foul things for as long as I could but at some point figured if I mixed them with something else on my plate that MAYBE I could swallow them without spitting them into the face of my host.

I did it.

I ate a lima bean (ok maybe 12 of them). I kept them down. All 12 (ok, maybe 10). I felt like a small child who had just learned how to ride a bike. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops! Call all my friends. Change my Facebook status.


I still hate them (the beans - not the folks I had dinner with - they're quite wonderful actually). And thankfully they all now know of my great dislike of all things beans and I’ll no longer be expected to partake of any (THANK YOU LORD!). But I feel that FINALLY all my years of missions experience has paid off. I was culturally sensitive and I ate a lima bean.

Oh shine – what do I do if they ever serve liver or brussel sprouts???!!!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Alice, so good to hear you post! Oh what missionary service will do for us. LOL! Really funny, and btw, I LOVE beans, rice AND brussel sprouts!