Quote of the Day


toxic beans: who knew?

Maybe you knew. I didn't. I was reading my newest cookbook, Nigella Bites: From Family Meals to Elegant Dinners - Easy, Delectable Recipes For Any Occasion, which I found on the used shelf the other day and snatched right up.

I like Nigella Lawson's books because her recipes are yummy, and the photography looks real. By that I mean that if the picture is of food roasted in an oven, there are spatter marks visible on the sides of the pan. It looks like they are photographing real food cooked in a real kitchen that will be eaten by real people.

Anyway, Nigella mentioned in a rather off-hand way something about toxin and beans and boiling:
I never soak black beans; just make sure that when you cook them they get their 10 toxin-destroying minutes of vociferous boiling and you're off (p 130).

I had no idea what she was talking about, so of course I googled it.

Remember all those times you are told to soak your beans and then to toss out the water and rinse well? There is a reason! The water leaches out some of the toxin stuff and if you don't do this you are feeding your family some nasty stuff. I think I may have done this . . . in fact I am sure I have. I may have poured off some of the water, but rinsing well? I'm sure I never have. I didn't know!

Yes, I have a copy of Joy of Cooking, and I am sure it is in there, but really, when would I have ever sat down and read about beans when there are pages and pages of pastry-talk to peruse?

Apparently raw beans and partly cooked beans contain Phytohaemagglutnin which make people feel really lethargic and barfy and nauseated and experience some nasty durchfall, which is a German word that translates literally to through-fall. Even a few beans can bring this about, so a cook who samples the soup before it is done cooking could experience this, while the rest of the family, who eats the soup after it is done, is fine! I'm sure I have done this.

The preventative? Boil briskly for 10 minutes and the nasty stuff is killed off.

I also learned, in my beany research, that one can reduce any unpleasant side-effects commonly associated with bean-eating by adding a bit of vinegar at the end of cooking, or by cooking beans with cumin, or by changing the water during the aforementioned soaking.

So tell me true, did you know this already?

And in case you are taking notes for Christmas, I have
Nigella Bites and How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking.


:: one year ago today: Marmoleum and Compound W
:: two years ago today: Singing Children

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