I bought a can of butter beans tonight.
I am vegetarian and I need to eat pulses, but I like them too. Lentils in curry. Kidney beans in a vegetarian mince. Cannellini beans in soup. Chick peas in houmous.
But butter beans are my favourite. They are a beautiful shape. They are glossy and substantial. They persist in dishes.
They mean care.
They mean coming home from work on time, and coming straight home.
They mean a bottle of beer, listening to rock music and spending some proper time in the kitchen.
They mean there has been a lot going on in my life. Not necessarily bad. Not necessarily good. Just a lot.
They mean I feel slightly ill. A slightly scratchy throat. Or I have sneezed a few times.
They mean I want an early night and eight hours sleep.
They mean me cooking a proper meal for myself. Frying off onions, stirring in carrots, maybe some courgette, peas, some green leafy veg depending on the time of year. Paprika. A tin of tomatoes, tomato puree. Served with noodles or rice. Soy sauce.
They mean I want to look after myself. Or others. If I was caring for someone I would look for lots of butter bean recipes.
I have often reached for sugary and salty snacks when feeling wound up or tired or stressed. Doughnuts. Flapjacks. Strawberry laces. Popcorn.
But it is butter beans that are my real comfort food.