When we talk about the food timeline…and we here at Accidental Hedonist do…Beans are part of a weird coincidence in food history. The Old World (Europe, Asia and Africa) domesticated beans roughly the same time as the New World (North and South America). The Faba Bean (or Fava Bean in some circles) was widely cultivated in Egypt, Greece and Rome (6500 BC to 0AD) while in our neck of the woods.
Meanwhile, in what is now Guatemala, the bane of youths worldwide was being domesticated and cultivated around 6500-6000BC…And yes, I’m talking about the lima bean.
It’s one of the odd coincidences that you find from time to time in history. Like the Pyramids at Luxor and the ones found in Central American. Some folks think that aliens had something to do with the pyramid coincidence, perhaps they had something to do with beans as well.
Okay, probably not.
Back to Faba Beans…interesting fact here: It is said that Greek philosopher Pythagoras refused to walk through fields of faba beans. His fear was so intense that he even forbade his disciples to eat them. Legand has it that Pythagoras met his death at the hands of the people of Crotonia in Ancient Bratium (Italy). Pursued by them, he came to the edge of a bean field and, rather than set foot in it, was caught and killed.
Of course, what this speculation of Pythagoras bean phobia comes from his advice of “Abstain from beans” (kyamon apechete). But when one realizes that beans, black and white, were, according to this interpretation, the means of voting in Pythagoras’ hometown. “Abstain from beans” may then mean merely “Avoid politics”. And the myth of of his death may be exactly that…a myth.
So beans are the next topic we’ll be covering here. And we’ll see just how much more aliens and phobias will be discussed.