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  • Writer's picturekaydee777

Fūl medames: a bit of wild alongside the long ago tamed.

Updated: Apr 25

This morning the back garden offered up a lovely harvest of Fava beans (Vicia faba) and young chenopodium (goosefoot) which are volunteering abundantly in the potato patch at the moment.

When I was in Egypt a million years ago one of my favourite meals was the fava bean based Fūl medames (fūl).

After some research into recipes for fūl, I made a passable adaptation using this morning’s harvest of beans and greens, and what I had in the kitchen: tomato sauce (too early for fresh tomatoes), cumin, coriander, chile, garlic and shallots.

Mixed with some brown rice, the concoction wasn’t 100% authentic Egyptian cuisine but delicious anyway slathered on slices from a loaf of freshly baked fermented buckwheat and teff bread. A few dates and dried figs were added to the plate for iron, sweetness and desert invocation. Ah Egypt, my Egypt!

The real lead actor driving the plot in today’s culinary drama, however, remained the fresh fava beans which I have read might just be one of the earliest plants which humans tamed at the beginnings of agriculture. It seems fava beans were probably domesticated before grains.

Though I can only grow these legumes in the cool season, and a neighbour who claims, but has not demonstrated convincingly to me, permaculture qualifications, thinks they are “just” a cover crop, I feel good joining this long line of Vicia faba growers while also taking my place alongside ancient cooks making meals from what the earth around me offers. Tomorrow? Nopales (cactus pad) maybe. The spineless opuntia could do with some pruning.

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