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Rocks in beans

Today’s tip is more of a life tip than a straight travel tip, but it was inspired by something that happened when I was traveling. When my family landed in Toronto over the Christmas holiday, I popped into a ‪Popeye’s because it was on the way to my mother-in-law’s (the only time I ever eat Popeye’s). I bought rice and beans for Jack and some spicy chicken for me and Natalie. Luckily, on my taste test of the beans, I was the one to bite into a ROCK and not him. Yes, a rock!

I posted on Twitter (see my tweet below) and Facebook and got the attention of Popeye’s. I also heard from many people who told me that it’s fairly common to find rocks in beans, including Mark B., who used to sift for rocks in red beans for a restaurant. On Twitter, he wrote that there are “lots of rocks in red beans. Absolutely critical you sift through them before cooking.” It turns out that instances of rocks in beans are well-documented, including in this Reddit thread and in this New York Times guide to cooking beans, which notes that you should “always rinse beans before cooking, and check for stray rocks, twigs and leaves.” As far as I can figure out, the rocks come from the soil where the beans are grown.

Not all red beans will have rocks in them, of course, but be aware: You should use caution when eating them, especially from Popeye’s.

Related: Anthony Bourdain’s Genius Trick for Finding the Best Food in Town



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