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Sun Ladder Empty_tin_can2009-01-19My dad is a country boy, despite a closet full of suits and a house in the suburbs of Birmingham, Alabama. This notion first presented itself when I ate supper at a kindergarten chum’s house and made a puzzling discovery: Her family ate beans from tin cans.

Vibrance Canned Food1_pe

Until then I thought beans came from jars. After all, jars of beans, tomatoes, peppers, beets, and bread-and-butter pickle lined shelves in our playroom. Jars of muscadine grape, peach, pear, and blackberry jam glowed like jewels next to the Pachinko machine. Boxes of empty Mason jars—awaiting next season’s harvest—towered on the upright piano.

I rushed home to report the news. “Most people eat processed vegetables,” Mom said, confirming this new fact of life. “They also eat  fruit in tin cans. Aren’t you children lucky that your father is a wonderful gardener?”

liz west Food_basket

Green Beans Snijboon_peulen_Phaseolus_vulgarisLucky? I didn’t think so. While all the other kids played kickball on…

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