Are fairy tales dead?
Hardly. Reading a fairy tale from a leather bound gilded book to the kiddies by a roaring fire may be a thing of the past, but these days all the kids have to do is tune in to NBC’s “Grimm” or “Once Upon a Time” on ABC to see the 21st century version of our most beloved fairy tale characters. Or go to the movies to catch Hollywood’s take on “Snow White and the Huntsman” or “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters”. These are not your innocent Disney damsels in distress any more. They are now adults on a mission, rehashing familiar stories with plenty of blood, guts and gore.
The latest is Jack. You may remember him as the giant killer who scales a majestic bean stalk that reaches upward toward the sky. Now he is in 3-D in “Jack and the Giant Slayer”.
The original first appeared in print in 1807 in the book “The History of Jack and the Bean Stalk”. The tales was simple. Jack is sent to market to sell the family cow by his widowed mother. On the way he encounters an old man who offers Jack magic beans for the bovine. When Jack comes back without the cash, his mother throws a menstrual fit and tosses the beans out the window.
The next morning, Jack awakens to see a giant beanstalk reaching high up in to the sky. Of course he climbs it and eventually ends up in a giant’s castle sitting in the clouds. The giant senses an intruder and bellows out the famous line…
“Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum, Yadda, yadda, blah, blah,blah.”
Jack ends up, with the help of the giant’s wife, stealing a bag of gold, a chicken that lays a golden egg and a magic guitar. The giant ends up chasing Jack down the bean stalk, but our hero manages to chop it down first, killing the giant.
Cut to 2103 and “Jack the Giant Killer.” It is essentially the same except the big screen version has an adult Jack teaming with a super sexy princess, Jedi knight sword fights, blood curdling creatures and the stratospheric bean stalk. And all in 3-D! And the tub of popcorn is still only six bucks. All this movie lacks is Nazis, Indian Jones and a pit full of snakes.
But what kills me is that green beans are barely mentioned in either the original folk tale or the blockbuster cinematic version.
I love green beans, and besides being nutritious, they are a perfect accompaniment to almost any main dish. My favorite? Classic Green Beans Amandine. Some refer to them as Green Beans Almandine or just plain Green Beans with Almonds, but “Amandine” is the correct culinary term meaning a garnish of almonds.
Green Beans Amandine
1 Lb. Fresh Green Beans, Washed and Trimmed
6 Oz. Almonds, Slivered
2 Tbs. Butter
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
Salt/Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 Tbs. Fresh Lemon Juice
¼ Cup Chardonnay
Place the beans and almonds in a skill and sauté in butter and olive oil for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add lemon juice and wine. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, sprinkle cheese and serve.
And they all lived happily ever after.