Eaves dropping 2021

“Did you look the beans?”

“I looked at them when I poured them in the pot.”

“You have to look them because there’s rocks and stuff in them.”

“Who puts rocks in beans!?”


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  • Reply
    June 21, 2021 at 4:43 pm

    We “looked over” beans (usually pintos, sometimes navy-white- or kidney beans) then put them in a pot of cold water. The ones that didn’t have any “substance” would float to the surface and be removed before we left them to soakin’ overnight.

  • Reply
    Sharon Cole
    June 21, 2021 at 10:08 am

    I looked some beans yesterday and we had them for lunch. My mother taught me to do this. She cooked the best navy beans!!

  • Reply
    June 20, 2021 at 6:25 pm

    My father left when I was 4, so momma did the best she could. She passed from cancer between Thanksgiving and Christmas 2002. When she was diagnosed in 2001 and told she only had 6 months, I quit my job and came home to care for her the way she cared for me growing up. I had savings but money was only always necessary because you used it to live. I never cared for material things. The 9 months I spent with her each and every day, were the best of my life! I say all of that to say momma got the biggest thrill when I told her one of my favorite things to do growing up was ‘getting the job’ to look the beans. I remember feeling so sorry for the little boy who had to bag the beans because he obviously couldn’t tell the difference between a rock and a beans sometimes. Ha!

    • Reply
      June 20, 2021 at 6:31 pm

      Walt-I’m so glad you got to stay with her during her last days-what a treasure!

  • Reply
    Dick Manley
    June 20, 2021 at 3:59 pm

    My dad grew up in Iowa (born 1892), but his family was from Kentucky by way of Indiana. He had an expression …”you know crack o’ de rock, you know crack o’ de bean”. I never understood it, and never heard anyone else use it.

  • Reply
    Ron Bass
    June 19, 2021 at 10:40 pm

    Always heard when cooking dried beans you should put a penny in the pot. It is supposed to remove the “gas”. I tried it. Didn’t work.

  • Reply
    June 19, 2021 at 8:34 pm

    The poem about beans being good for the heart made me think about my son asking his grandaddy(my daddy) in the grocery store in front of everybody if the beans he was buying were poo poo beans. You didn’t get off with daddy to often but this did.

  • Reply
    Kat Swanson
    June 19, 2021 at 5:53 pm

    Always LOOK UM….BEFORE YOU COOK UM…. that’s the way we did it and still do it …. in the VA. COALFIELDS !

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 19, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    The place I worked for 37 years had a cafeteria where they served three meals a day and coffee 24 hours. They fed 3 to 4 hundred people a day.
    I was working third and would come in early to get some coffee and sometimes the two second shift ladies would be sitting at a big stainless steel table with a big pile of dried beans in the middle. They were looking them by taking a few and dragging them across the table and stopping them to the edge where they would lift their hands off them. If there bad ones or foreign material in them they would pick that out. When they satisfied there was nothing but good beans in that batch they would brush them off into a bowl in their lap.
    I always had some greeting for those ladies when I stopped by. In the beginning when they were looking beans I would ask them how they were doing and then ask how many they were up to. “What do you mean?”
    “I mean what is the count so far? You’re counting beans ain’t you?”
    “No, we’re looking for rocks and bad beans?”
    “Don’t they count too? Ain’t you on production? Don’t you get paid by the bean?”
    “You’re crazy!”
    “Yeah, but I ain’t counting beans”
    “You get out of here!” Followed by a handful beans.
    One lady’s name was Marlene. The other one I can’t remember her name but I can picture her in my mind. But they were looking beans to cook for lunch and supper the next day.
    We were working at a food distribution warehouse and the cafeteria had access to the best ingredients and cooked them in house. They fed us better food at a third the cost of restaurant food. $1.25 was the cost of a meal when I started there. Some employees ate all their meals from there. $3.75 a day! People who didn’t work there had to pay a little more but it was still cheaper than any restaurant.
    Then the owners decided to built a bigger facility. The new place had a cafeteria too but production of the food for the employees suddenly changed. Prices went up! The bubbling pots of food slow cooking for hours became frozen food in big aluminum trays and beans and greens from gallon cans. The days of bean counting sadly are gone as are most of the people that actually took pride in their work.

    I always look my beans. I wash them after I look them then boil them for five minutes and rinse them again before letting them soak overnight. I make some of the best beans you ever ate like that. I thoroughly wash all my produce before cooking or eating it. If it says it is prewashed I wash it again. If it is produce I have grow in my garden I might brush it off or blow it off and eat it right there. I just can’t eat store bought food without washing having seen how it is handled on the way to the store.

  • Reply
    Billy Hugh Campbell jr
    June 19, 2021 at 4:49 pm

    The other day I told a Yankee lady that my grandma pa told me as a boy…..”if you don’t start it, you won’t have to stop it.” This flew over the poor lady’s head and l liked to near got here to understand what meant. Any way, “its cold enough to hang meat in here”.

  • Reply
    June 19, 2021 at 3:20 pm

    Yes, always “look the beans.” And not just the pintos like I grew up with. I regularly cook black beans now and you have to look them as well. I don’t know about ya’ll, but seems like I always find about the same amount of debris in each bag. Hum…is it a weight issue? Or I am a conspiracy theorist?Remember “soup beans…soup beans…good for the heart….the more you eat…..(well either you remember or not…ha!)

  • Reply
    Frances Jackson
    June 19, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    My mother and my grandma used to “look” the beans. I can hear my mother’s sweet voice till now, saying, “Here, I’ll look those beans for you.” She loved to sit and do the fine details of cooking. She called it “busy-work,” but actually I think it gave her a little rest from the foot-wearying work of the day.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    June 19, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    Always look the beans and wash them too–sometimes get muddy water from them! Pinto beans are the worst.

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    June 19, 2021 at 12:04 pm

    I was a cook and baker in the Navy. Once when I was on l was on leave in N.C. an aunt asked, “How many beans do you have to cook for a meal?”
    I replied, “About thirty pounds.”
    She said, “My God, who looks all them beans?”

  • Reply
    June 19, 2021 at 10:38 am

    One of my cousins married the sweetest lady. We considered her a Yankee. Eager to please she started cooking him his favorite soup beans. All went well until he chomped down on a rock. When he said something she said, “How did a rock get in there?” I still think of them and her trials and tribulations trying to become an Appalachian wife. Many I knew brought home wives from service or from working in other states. Most seemed to fit in easily in our friendly state. One surprised me and knew more about foraging than we did.

  • Reply
    Lynette O Broughman
    June 19, 2021 at 9:54 am

    I know y’all are talking about pinto beans, there are always rocks & stuff in them, Mama taught me that years ago–we had the same conversation!

  • Reply
    Dennis M Morgan
    June 19, 2021 at 9:28 am

    I have “looked” beans before. My aunt taught me how to look them. You have got to look the beans to make sure only good beans and only beans not little rocks go into the pot. Thanks for talking about things that bring back memories.

    Dennis Morgan

  • Reply
    June 19, 2021 at 9:04 am

    Mom looked the beans and she looked the lettuce one leaf at a time. She would take a handful of pintos and transfer them from one hand to the other several times as she looked for rocks and broken pieces of beans.

    • Reply
      June 22, 2021 at 5:38 pm

      Shirl, that’s exactly the way I do beans and lettuce. I’m 81 and learned that from my mother. I do the lettuce in a steady stream of water.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 19, 2021 at 8:31 am

    I remember that. My Mom always ‘looked the beans’. Was not uncommon to find small rocks and dirt clods in the pintos. I still wonder how they were harvested then and how that compares with now. Whatever the difference, seems like looking the beans is no longer done.

    Incidentally, the Bushs, Stokeley and Stokeley-Van Camps bean companies have Appalachian roots. The Bush’s General Store & Museum is on US 411 at Chestnut Hill, TN northeast of Sevierville. The old Stokeley house, a big Victorian, was recently for sale at Del Rio, TN not far from Chestnut Hill.

  • Reply
    Larry Paul Eddings
    June 19, 2021 at 8:08 am

    I love beans and I cook dried beans frequently. Yes, you really need to look those dried beans and give them a quick rinse before putting them on the stove to cook. I’ve never bothered to pre-soak dried beans before cooking though.

  • Reply
    Betty Jo Eason Benedict
    June 19, 2021 at 7:23 am

    Oh Yes!!! Please look the beans and wash them too!!! I once saw someone just dump a bag right into the pot…….I would be afraid I would chomp down on a rock a break a tooth!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 19, 2021 at 7:19 am

    I’ve looked the beans many times! There is usually two or three small rocks in them and I sure don’t want to cook them with my beans!

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