Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes Gardening

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Look The Beans

My life in appalachia look the beans

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English

Look transitive verb To examine (food), inspect for dirt or foreign objects.
1982 Slone How We Talked 62 Some of the greens we used were not cooked, but eaten raw. They were “looked” (checked for bugs and rotting spots), washed, sprinkled with salt and wilted or “killed” by pouring real hot grease over them. 1990 Bailey Draw Up Chair 12 I told her, “Now you be sure to look the beans,” 1933 Ison and Ison Whole Nuther Lg 40 Look the beans = to inspect dried beans or other food for foreign objects.


2014 Brasstown “You’ll need to look the greens before you cook them, I didn’t have time or I woulda done it for you.”


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    July 11, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Hadn’t heard just “look” – – we always “look over” or “look ’em over” or “take a good look see”. That includes rice purchased in bulk (bugs may add a bit of protein but I pluck them out them anyway – or tell folks its just cracked pepper if I’m in a impish mood 😉 ). And I always inspect/examine/look over all my produce, even from my own garden – even the “triple washed” stuff from the store – – just seems safer!

  • Reply
    Joyce Heishman
    July 8, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    Makes me hungry for cornbread and beans. Maybe with a few onions cut up in it. Thanks for the post.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    July 8, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    We used to buy Pinto Beans by the 25 lb sack, you never cooked them until they were well looked and soaked overnight. I have always looked greens but after getting involved a few years back with truck farming and seeing how many food products are handled I wash everything I buy prior to eating it. The sanitary practices of many field hands would shock you and turn your stomach, suffice it to say that few fields have bathrooms available and soap and water are rare in many of them.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 8, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    I used to buy the most expensive beans because I thought they would be cleaner but I looked them anyway and found a lot of stuff in them. Now I buy the cheapest I can find. I find a few more rocks and broken beans and odd shaped ones and seeds that ain’t beans but when I am through they are just as good as the expensive ones and I have saved a dollar.
    I spent almost my whole working life at a wholesale food distributor and I have seen how food is handled. I would recommend that everybody carefully wash and inspect everything they didn’t grow themselves.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    July 8, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    We can lots of green beans so after the
    stringing and breaking, we wash and look
    ’em three times, sometimes finding a
    pesky string missed during the process.
    I remember mama looking the dry pintos
    when I was little, and she showed me
    the little rocks. Even tho the pintos I
    buy at the grocery store say they’re
    “double looked and washed”, I don’t
    trust ’em…Ken

  • Reply
    cheryl beavers
    July 8, 2014 at 11:51 am

    enjoy reading your post and i too look the beans and such.

  • Reply
    cheryl beavers
    July 8, 2014 at 11:51 am

    enjoy reading your post and i too look the beans and such.

  • Reply
    cheryl beavers
    July 8, 2014 at 11:51 am

    enjoy reading your post and i too look the beans and such.

  • Reply
    July 8, 2014 at 11:47 am

    I confess to not “looking” every lettuce leaf or every turnip green leaf, etc. Rinse them several times though. I do look dried beans thoroughly because of the rocks & clods of dirt.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    July 8, 2014 at 11:27 am

    We say “look at”, as in-“Did you look at those beans? I don’t want to crack a tooth!”

  • Reply
    C. Ron Perry, Sr.
    July 8, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Have heard that many times. Even with dried pinto and white beans, my mother and grandmother would spread them out on the table and pick out anything that wasn’t bean.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    July 8, 2014 at 10:21 am

    my husband used to tease my mother that she was counting the beans!

  • Reply
    Gina S
    July 8, 2014 at 9:48 am

    I always look before I cook.

  • Reply
    Carol Stuart
    July 8, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Have heard “look the beans” all of my life and am always careful to do so!

  • Reply
    July 8, 2014 at 8:48 am

    One of my numerous cousins married a nice Yankee girl. She was eager to please, so she learned to cook his favorite “soup beans.” She was very surprised one day when he chomped down on a rock, and she is quoted as saying, “How did that get in there?” Well, nobody had told her she needed to look those beans.

  • Reply
    July 8, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Mom always looked the front and back of every leaf of lettuce or greens. She looked the dry beans and wild berries too. I remember going to her uncle’s house for dinner after church where Mom ate very little, knowing her aunt didn’t look the beans and lettuce. I also look the food before I cook it.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 8, 2014 at 7:35 am

    When I was growing up we ate pinto beans an cornbread fairly regularly. We bought dried pintos and cooked them. My mother always looked the beans very carefully. She was looking for small rocks. The beans sold so cheaply in one pound bags and sometimes rocks were added to increase the weight.
    To this day I look any dried beans I buy for small rocks or beans that look bad.
    Course you gotta look any fresh vegetables for dirt, bugs, and such, that is just part and parcel of gardening.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 8, 2014 at 7:10 am

    I have never heard that one, yet I have been told to do that vary thing I cannot tell you the words that were used. Maybe look over the beans?

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