The Government’s Secret String Bean Agenda


Hey look what I got for only 23 cents!

Now I know you’re thinking how hard up for fun does a person have to be to go to a thrift store and come home with: Home Freezing of fruits and vegetables (bulletin 10) by the U.S. Department of Agriculture circa 1957 and be pleased as punch about it?

I am.  I did.  And I was.

Back in 1957, everybody who was anybody was into freezing food.

It was practically a national pastime for heaven sakes!  My parents didn’t own a home deep freezer, so they  rented a space in the walk-in freezer at Blower’s Grocery Store. I think I was about six years old, and I remember my mother giving us a lecture each week as she stood outside the Blowers big freezer door.

Here's Mom in the Freezer Halcyon Days

“Now, I’m going in kids.  I want you to wait out here for me.  If I don’t come out soon, go tell Mr. Blower, in case I get locked in.”

“Can we come in too Mommy?” we always pleaded.

“Absolutely not!  You’re small. You could freeze to death.”

Checking to see if limbs are operable
Here's Mom making sure my limbs haven't frozen solid.

Then my mother would assume her head-up, shoulders-back, pioneering-woman stance, open the door to Blowers walk-in freezer and march in like a brave soldier who didn’t hold out much hope of returning alive.

After a few seconds, she’d reappear with a several cuts of meat wrapped in white butcher paper and was always bitterly disappointed at what cuts of meat she managed to grab without getting frostbitten (or something unimaginably worse).

I think my parents might have bought the wrong side of beef –the one without the steaks – because I never heard her say, “Oh goody! Steaks.”

Anyway getting back to my fabulous 23 cent find.  I know that life was more structured in the 50’s, but these GOVERNMENT ISSUED INSTRUCTIONS for freezing string beans make you want to get into a time machine and put a flaming bag of poo on Mamie Eisenhower’s front porch.

Here’s Mamie poised but obviously preoccupied about her string beans

This is how the U.S. Department of Agriculture strongly suggested its female citizenry freeze  string beans in 1957:

Step one:

Ok, they are giving you some leeway here.  1- or 2-inch pieces.  But . . . you must line them up EVENLY first.  And then sliiiiide them all over with the knife to the others — making sure they are Even Steven at all times. AT ALL TIMES!!

Step Two:

You cook the beans and then you PLUNGE  them into cold water to stop the cooking. Don’t ever ever ever just SET them in cold water, they will just keep cooking and cooking and cooking like they’ve been exposed to a radioactive isotope (which, in the 50’s, wasn’t as rare as you might imagine) and we know what happens when that happens.  Radioactive 1- or 2-inch pieces of KILLER STRING BEANS!

Step Three:

This is important now so pay attention.  Don’t even try this unless you have a GOVERNMENT ISSUED String Bean Bag Stand and a Green Bean Funnel.  How else would you put them in the bags for freezing in a home freezer?  Surely not with your bare hands? Frankly, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is practically sick to its stomach that it would even have to mention this.

Step Four

Ok, do you see this?  You must have your string (not to be confused with string beans) precut into what looks like approximately 2- or 2 and 2/16th’s  inches of string placed no more than ¾’s of an inch from the outside of your little finger.

Head space is also quite important.  Because apparently in the 50’s string beans had heads for which one must alott space . . . and if those bags get brittle? Uh Oh.  It’s not going to be pretty.  President Eisenhower might have to send over Mamie to pay you a little visit.

And you don’t even want to know why they called her Mamie.

Until next time. . . I love you

13 thoughts on “The Government’s Secret String Bean Agenda

  1. It is becoming more apparent to me that I would not have fared well back then. Well they did have happy pills maybe that’s why it all seemed so ..happy. Lol the possibilities of the government’s motive for getting involved in the string bean freezing process…..see that’s what I mean..who else could take a old flyer and turn it into something to laugh about and swell on.? Only you 😎 and that’s awesome 🙂

  2. Ah, thanks Lizzie. Well those old flyers were certainly bizzare HA! Yes I do think they did have happy pills aplenty. I think the doctors perscribed amphetimines for depression and to lose weight. Plus it was perfectly acceptable to drink 3 martinis at lunch and then drive back to the office. In fact, I think about the only thing that would land a person in jail is if they were suspected of being a communist or were careless about freezing their sting beans! 🙂

    • oh..well maybe I would have fared better? I’d be the one who couldn’t freeze the beans right though – not straight enough!~ Off to the Gulag! (I’m not really sure what that is btw.supposed to be jail.so ..) Happy pills happy pills!!!

  3. I was working on something here, but it just ain’t coming.
    Sigh…
    But think how awful it would have been if the Ruskies got this technology first, and we suffered from a frozen green bean deficit.
    The horror…the horror…

    (Is Ruskies allowed, or am I too far over the PC line?)

    • Woudn’t we all be toofless then? Scurvy or something…
      Hey! I saw the pc police headed this way! Hide the beans and freeze the Ruskies! Ok I just commented here cause I am curious too. About the PC line – I toe it and I was a little unclear. DO you think they will mark Linda’s blog or go to yours? hmmmmmm the suspense. A big red….I that’s i. for Insensitive – isn’t that what PC is a bunch of – oh hey look at the time and I going on endlessly – so out of character for me wouldn’t you say? I think Commies – is the wrong word – I don’t know about what you said. Ha! ANd the gov’t is printing freezing string bean pamphlets. Isn’t that our tax dollars at work? I need a happy pill! 🙄

  4. Considering the risk to her life each time she entered the freezer…I can see the government’s interest in such matters. I’m glad your limbs did not freeze and break off. I’m sure you would have managed though.

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  6. An unusual character, he’s a Professor of Cellular Biology in Finland who still dresses, in his 50s, like a punk. Guides are there walk with you and give you info about the area. “Camp Hope”, the hastily-set-up settlement near the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine, is already attracting curious day trippers.

    • Apparently you work for the Government’s Secret String Bean Agenda. I won’t tell you my name or my rank or serial number, however, my favorite cereal is Cheerios! 😀

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