I have been systematically gardening and experimenting since 1933, and I admit that I don't succeed to any degree with lima beans. Blanche and I are enthusiastic string bean eaters, and after trying many varieties, always conclude nothing is better than the old-fashioned Kentucky Wonder. I also grow horticultural beans every year and still say that a dish of those in hot, rich milk and well-buttered, is topflight eating. Only way to improve on "shell" beans — as we call them — is to use them in succotash.
Some folks actually prefer lima beans in their succotash; but then, many people have inexplicable tastes and puzzling idiosyncrasies.
Here is a dish that is excellent — and hearty. It is from neighbor Florence Adams, who is a superb cook.
Wash one cup of dried limas and soak 12 hours in cold water. Drain and cook the beans for one-half hour in boiling salted water.
Drain after boiling and add two tablespoons chopped parsley, one-eighth teaspoon cloves, two tablespoons thick sour cream.
Stir these in carefully to avoid mashing the beans. Pour into a baking dish and sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese. Bake one-half hour in a moderate oven.
Perhaps you have not appreciated that the discovery of America coincides with the recorded history of beans. Columbus saw fields of beans near Nuevitas in Cuba. The great botanist Linneaus described two forms of lima beans.