The strangest phobia I have ever encountered was a friend’s fear of raccoons. That was before I met Ma’ayan.
Personally, I think raccoons are adorable. Yes, they are a nuisance when they rip through the trash, but who can’t love the furry masks and striped tails? The majority of people must think I’m insane for thinking this, but I’ve read that raccoons live near streams of water because they like to wet their food so it’s softer to eat. For some reason, I find the mental image of these furry creature dipping their paws into the water to prepare their food extremely endearing. Anybody else thinks that? Anybody? …Hello?
Well, one friend certainly did not. One summer, I persuaded her to join the annual camping trip. “Don’t worry about raccoons! They don’t bother us at all. Sometimes they come at night, but they can’t enter the tent. Besides, in all my years, I have never seen one at the campsite.” I did not consider Murphy’s Law.
We were sitting around the campfire when a family of five raccoons crept out of the woods. My friend gripped the arms of her chair, her eyes wide with fear, choking back a scream. When the animals left, she was able to come back to herself.
The person sitting next her heard her muttering the words we will never let her forget as long as she lives, “…I’m going to chop their furry little heads off.” That is why I did not name this friend, so her identity is hidden from the general public. We laugh at her about it enough as it is, though I think she handled herself very well in that situation.
Then I met Ma’ayan and suddenly raccoons became the most rational fear imaginable.
Since I’m exploiting my unnamed friend and Ma’ayan, I may as well be honest with my own phobia: the dark. This fear was way worse as a child, but there is still that demon ready to pounce whenever I am alone at in the dark.
To be fair, nyctophobia is a logical fear. It’s a manifestation of the fear of the unknown. When I’m walking into the basement or garage at night and the lights aren’t working, my heart begins to race because I do not know what could be lurking there. A monster, clown, or serial killer could be waiting there for me and I wouldn’t see it. Is that probable? No. Possible? Well, yes. How could you know it’s not there if you cannot see anything?
See, this is why I’m a food blogger and not a therapist.
If you think you or someone you know has a weird fear, consider this: Ma’ayan has a fear of green beans.
No, that was not a typo. She cannot stand green beans. This is not just a picky eater thing. Once she ate some by accident and her reaction was something close to a panic attack. This definitely beats a fear of the dark and of raccoons.
Once, when I was dorming with Ma’ayan, I was trying to study for a quiz but was too exhausted to concentrate on my notes. I was struck by a theory that explained her green bean aversion. It was so brilliant, I called her cell, even though she was one floor away from me.
“Ma’ayan! I had a genius idea about your green bean thing!”
“You know you can come upstairs and talk to me, right?”
“Yeah, sorry. I’m just really tired. Anyway, listen, this is awesome! It makes perfect sense.”
“Alright, I’m listening.”
“You are scared of green beans because a tall, thin man spooked you as a child!”
“Get it? Because tall and thin people are nicknamed ‘green beans?’ Or is it ‘string beans…'”
“Sarah, I think you need to go to sleep.”
That is reason number two of why I am not a therapist.
So when I created a green bean recipe, I knew I had to dedicate it to Ma’ayan. Out of all the recipes on this blog she will readily eat, I wrote her on the one she never will… I did not think this through.
In any event, just as I think raccoons are cute, I find green beans delicious, especially with fresh oranges, ginger, and garlic. Don’t be afraid to try it, except for Ma’ayan who is allowed to take my word for it.
Citrus Green Beans
- 2 lbs green beans
- 2 oranges
- 2 tsp ginger
- 1 tbsp crushed garlic cloves
- dash of salt
- 2 tbsp sesame or olive oil
- Peel the oranges and chop them up into cube-like pieces.
- Mix half of the cubed oranges with the green beans, ginger, garlic, and salt
- Heat the oil in a pan and add the green bean mixture.
- Cook for about 30 minutes covered or until the green beans are as firm or as soft as desired.
- Mix with the rest of the orange cubes and serve hot or cold with orange slices for garnish.