4.108 Stir-Fried Kidney Beans

Cycle 4 – Item 108

23 (Tue) April 2013

Stir-Fried Kidney Beans


by Nanny 8

at home

-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Republic of Korea-

with W and DJ

Our nanny had bought the beans last week in a small Korean-Chinese grocery store that we’d come across by chance in an alley across the street from E-Mart.  So excited to see familiar items, she insisted on picking out a few things to make us for dinner later on.  The beans, she said, had been one of her own family’s favorites back home.

This evening, as part of an otherwise typical mid-week at-home Korean meal, she stir-fried the beans with shallots and garlic in soy sauce.  Though not very good, they seemed edible at the time.  A couple hours thereafter, however, I suffered from indigestion, dizziness, and fever, all clear symptoms of food poisoning.  The wife and kid, who hadn’t eaten the beans, were both fine; for some fortuitous reason, perhaps subconsciously sensing something amiss, I hadn’t forced the beans upon them, even though I usually insist that everyone partake of the veggies.  The nanny, who’d eaten the most, threw them up later that night.

I don’t think that spoilage was the issue.  The beans, well within the expiration date, had looked and tasted okay.  I suspect that they’d been contaminated with some kind of bacteria at some point in the chain, somewhere between the Chinese source and the final packaging plant in Korea.

Funny thing is, while she’d been cooking them, I was standing over her shoulder and kibitzing about her tendency to overcook everything, to which she explained that these particular beans contain a “toxin” that could be deadly if “undercooked.”  Even when I showed her the package that described the beans as “fully cooked,” she kept at it.  Ultimately, at my nagging insistence, she only cooked about half the batch to soggy destruction and left the rest “raw” for me (in the main photo, the brown beans are hers, the green ones mine).  Of course, she blames me for getting sick.


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