Sunday, March 1, 2009

Eating Seeds

Eating Seeds

Since coming to the Pacific Northwest my eating patterns have changed dramatically. No one is cooking for me, and for the first time in – well, basically my lifetime – I can eat what I want to.

One might suppose a man living alone would choose the easy route of fast foods and snacking on debris, or the other extreme of constant gourmet restauranting. But my inclinations don’t go either direction.

I want food that is full of flavor and spirit and yet simple – easy on the nerves both to prepare and to digest. So what I’ve had almost constantly for six months now with hardly a variation - and without ever getting weary of the diet - is . . . seeds.

Seeds may not sound exciting if a person is used to Burger King or French cooking, but I look forward to that solitary evening meal. It is practically a meditation in its own right. As a rule I only eat once a day so this probably helps whit the appetite, but the real appeal comes from the bravado of the food itself, not my readiness to eat it.

By “seeds” I don’t just mean sunflowers or what comes from trees - like walnuts. I mean any of the unique forms that contain the beginnings of new life. The entire plant is contained in the seed, the whole representation of that life form. And one can eat the seeds without destroying what made them, without harming the host or parent, so this kind of consuming seems compassionate.

The seeds I eat most often are beans. There are so many wonderful kinds of beans, and when mixed together and allowed to brew, the natural flavors they develop and enhance among themselves are astonishing. I would like to share my way of appreciating such seeds, and how they can be prepared to make a satisfying feast that never grows stale.

In the photos are some of the beans used in my recipes. There are white beans, kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, mung beans, soy beans, adzuki beans, flor de mayo beans, and pink beans. Not shown are the navy beans, red beans and mayocoba beans - or the rice, millet and barley (which are also seeds) – I also use.

The keen observer may note something else in the top photo – red wheat. Yes, even this goes into the bean pot instead of becoming bread. Sound strange? Wait till you taste it!

Our present period of worldly uncertainty and the movement toward 2012 in preparation for the Mayan calendar ending makes a subject dealing with self-reliance especially timely. This is not to suggest worry, but how much societal disruption would be required to stop the flow of goods that refill grocery store shelves?

Seeds have an incredible storage life – in an airtight container they can last thirty years. In terms of providing nourishment for long term, the beans in the top photo could probably feed one person - who ate virtually nothing else - for six to twelve months. The container of white beans shown was full when I started this discipline in September.

Now you know some of the ingredients. In further installations I will discuss what to do with them.


  1. I have a pot of black beans brewing myself and didn't rinse the soaking water. Looking forward to dutch ovens later on! My kitchen counter looks shockingly similar to your photo above. I adore cleaning for that very reason. In addition to being economical, satisfying, delish and easy, they are beautiful. Beans, brown rice and a laying hen stock my 2012 pantry galore. And my stomach is flat as a pancake. LOVE THIS.

  2. Fantastic! Thank you for sharing this. Am eager to read more seedy installments! :)