Growing up as a little boy, I loved eating beans. I don’t know what brought about my love for beans but sometimes when people would ask how I gained my over 6ft 3in frame, I like to give beans the credit. I am sure my parents won’t mind beans taking the glory..lol
As an adult, my love for beans kind of dwindled compared to my childhood days but something else about my character bothered me; short temper.
I was the type to get irritated very easily, take offense almost immediately and get angry almost instantly. My anger bursts went almost as quickly as they came. I could get angry this minute, say mean things and in the next minute when calm, I regret the words that came out from my mouth. It was as if, anger was an overwhelming spirit that blinded me, over powered my senses and directed my tongue to speak ill of everything and everyone responsible.
This act had caused a truckload of distress to me and brought about strain between me, my loved ones and even in my past relationships.
Although my bursts of anger has never led (and will never) me to hitting anyone (especially a lady) but the words that emanate from my lips are almost as dangerous and damaging.
In a bid to curtail this habit, I bought books on anger management and listened to tapes on anger. When all measures to tackling this personal menace proved abortive, I resulted to seeking Divine Intervention.
“God help me”, I would cry out. “I am a sweet boy, don’t let anger make me into someone I am not”.
As if God wanted to prove that He works in mysterious ways. He sent an angel in the form of beans to teach me how to control and subdue my anger.
It all started on this fateful day that I decided to prepare beans as the “okay’ cook that I am (I can cook to save myself kinda of cook). Instead of taking the beans from the container and pouring them straight into the pot to commence cooking, I had to undergo the unenviable, inevitable, stressful and time consuming task of picking the beans.
Step One: I placed the beans on a tray and picked them to remove broken, discolored, shriveled, blemished beans, stones, insects, bean cases and other unwelcome guests.
Step Two: I washed the beans twice to remove the smaller hidden particles like sand and stones.
Step Three: I soaked the beans for over 12 hours. The importance of soaking beans before cooking cannot be overemphasized.
i. Soaking beans helps remove the anti-nutrients (phytic acid and enzymic inhibitors) and indigestible complex sugars (oligosaccharides) that causes bloating, heartburn and flatulence (passing gas).
ii. Once the seed coat of the beans is completely hydrated while soaking, boiling water can flow through the surface and begin to cook the interior of the bean. The hydration of the seed coat can happen in cold or hot water so soaking beans allows the process to begin before cooking saving as much as 60% valuable time spent cooking beans and saving gas (saving money).
iii. Lesser cooking time means you can help the environment by using less energy.
iv. Shorter cooking time also helps preserve the most nutrients so you can get the benefits of all the protein, vitamins and minerals in the beans and maximize the food value.
v. Soaking the beans cleans them, removes accumulated surface dirt, bacteria, insect lava, rodent contamination (even more important with Lassa fever currently becoming a source of concern in Nigeria) and any fertilizer or pesticide residue that might be present making it safer for consumption.
NOTE: Remember to discard the water used to soak the beans, wash the beans one more time before cooking. The soaking water contains the gas causing indigestible complex sugars that have leached off the outer coating of the beans but also the other revolting stuff that comes off the beans.
Step Four: After picking the beans and rinsing, the cooking proper begins which entails boiling till soft then the addition of onions, crayfish, seasoning, salt, fresh fish/stock fish, plantain (the meal is incomplete without it..lol) and finally palm oil. Food is ready.
While eating, a spirit in me connected the relationship between cooking beans and controlling my anger quite stunningly that I knew it was God that spoke.
The Spirit began…..
Spirit: Why did you have to pick the beans before cooking?
Me: To remove the stones, bad beans and other stuff not to be eaten.
Spirit: When next you get angry, remember like the beans you can’t say anything that builds up in your heart. Learn to pick your words when angry. As you take your time to pick the beans, take ample time to keep quiet, pick the right words before you speak because what you say at that moment could either worsen the situation or damage a relationship beyond repair.
He asked again……
Spirit: Why do you wash the beans after cooking?
Me: To remove the sand, stones and little unseen items in the beans that could cause my teeth discomfort while eating.
Spirit: Well said, are you aware that lions kill 500 people every year while spiders kill 5,000 people every year but mosquitoes kill 2.7 million people every year. The smallest are the deadliest. You washed the beans to remove the smallest hidden particles. So is anger, words you say might be harmful but your attitude to the offender could be worse. When angry don’t say bad things about the offender behind them. Backbiting is like a small “sin” which hardly gets noticed by many but are the most deadly. It could damage the reputation of someone without the person even knowing what was said. Remember the smallest are the deadliest.
He went on…….
Spirit: Why do you soak the beans before cooking?
Me: To remove the gases, reduce the effect of heartburn, reduce cooking time, help the environment, clean the beans and preserves the nutrients.
Spirit: By soaking your anger in the Word of God, you remove the harmful effects your words or actions would have on the other person. You also cleans your words and remove harmful and negative remarks. You also preserve the nutrient of your relationship with the person because words said cannot be taken back. Lastly, since soaking causes lesser cooking time which helps the environment, you are indirectly helping the World and the person’s future relationships by not cursing him/her out and preserving their dignity.
Lastly He asked…..
Spirit: Why do you add the other ingredients to the beans?
Me: To make it delicious of course *while rolling my eyes and licking my lips*
Spirit: Exactly, after giving your self time to cool off when angry, watching your tongue, minding what you say and how you react, its time to add seasoning into the fight/quarrel/argument/incident. Call the person, hear their side, put yourself in their shoes and see things their way and remember you both weren’t brought up the same way so their reaction to things might differ from yours. Respect their views, say sorry if you are wrong, be quick to forgive and learn to move on as fast as possible. Life is too short to dwell on the countless number of things your generation are dwelling on. You will never reach your destination if you throw stones at every dog that barks.
It wasn’t a trace or a dream but I was sure God had spoken to me using my favorite meal (beans) to subdue my least favorite habit (anger). Only if a certain celebrity in Nigeria had this beans inspired revelation before his outburst for an award recently *lips sealed*
I pray that this article not only teaches you the importance of soaking beans before cooking it but also teaches you the steps in controlling your anger.