I spent part of tonight peeling fava beans sitting in front of the kitchen window. I took a picture of the scene which shows the back of the apartment building across the courtyard. It’s not an elegant building but it’s full of human beings going about the business of life and people watching occurs in both directions.
It was nine o’clock in the evening and the light was starting to fade. The window was open and the summer evening was cool after a few days of storms.
This morning I had put the whole dried fava beans in water to soak and twelve hours had passed and it was time to boil them. When I was rinsing them in the sink I decided to peel them all by hand. I felt peaceful in the small kitchen in the dimming light. It was relaxing and calm and I felt no hurry to do anything quickly.
I kept the light off because screens are not commonly used in Italy so I try not to have the windows open when the lights are on in order to keep any mosquitoes out. But the other reason is that I love to work in the natural light as long as possible until it is too hard to see without it; it is calming.
I set up chairs to work on in the remaining light by the window and peeled all of the beans in about twenty minutes. Then I put them in a pot with water, a minced clove of garlic, half a chopped onion, and a little salt and waited for it to boil. I am making fava bean puree, a Southern Italian recipe I like very much. It is also good with only one ingredient: fava beans, which are boiled then simmered and stirred until after about an hour and fifteen minutes they form a delicious cream.
Reflecting on my life in Italy, one thing I am grateful for is the simple characteristic ingredients that are available and the experiences I have had and the people I have met which have taught me to slow down and make good things by hand and to appreciate the process as much as the final result.
When I take the time to do these things, I remember the happiness that comes with slowing down and mindfully performing simple and time-consuming tasks. It might seem like going backwards when modern conveniences are available, but the calm and satisfaction I feel tells me I’m going forwards.
I haven’t blogged in about three months, there’s been a lot going on and blogging took a back seat. But lately I’ve felt a pull to both do more simple things that make me happy and to take more advantage of living in Italy, both of which are things I started my blog “simply” “italiana” to talk about.