I think it may well have been one of my very first experiences with legumes of any type. While we ate plenty of vegetables growing up, meat was the focal point of our main meals, and U.S. diets and grocery stores were not as cosmopolitan as they are today.
But the year I turned 18, I did what's now called a gap year overseas and shared a house on a farm near London, England with 9 other young people from all over the world. It was an intense, challenging time of personal growth where I learned more than a thing or two about long, hard hours of physical labor, getting along with people, and food.
We had a housemother named Tess who was responsible for preparing meals and keeping the household running smoothly. She was all of 17 years old, a tiny little thing with a lovely, thick Yorkshire lilt and a huge personality, who had taken care of her younger siblings for years after her mother died.