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A Love of Limas — Laurie Colwin’s Succotash

As a child I hated lima beans. I mean, what child doesn’t? They’re lima beans! They’re the punchline of a thousand jokes, the substance of a thousand threats, the stuff of a thousand nightmares. Look up “lima beans” in the dictionary and you will see, “The food that all children and most adults hate.”

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized I had never even tasted lima beans. They’ve been so demonized that they rarely show up on any restaurant menu or home table. And once I did taste them, I really can’t tell you why. Little velvet pillows with a mildly nutty flavor — what’s not to like?

It might help that the first time I ever tasted lima beans was in this succotash. (Frankly it’s the only way I’ve ever tasted lima beans; as I mentioned, they’re not common in restaurants, and at home, well, why mess with perfection?) Succotash is such a marvelous word to begin with, and this particular recipe, with the savory notes of peppers and onions and the snap of ginger added to the typical fare of lima beans and corn, lives up to the excitement of the name. It’s not sufferin’ succotash — it’s sprightly succotash, savory succotash, satisfying succotash.
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