Free Range on Food: Beans, a month of resolutions, the Maillard reaction, this week's recipes and more!

Feb 05, 2020

Every Wednesday at noon, Food section staff members and guests answer your burning culinary questions.
Past Free Range on Food chats

Joe Yonan is full of beans this week. His cookbook “Cool Beans: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with the World's Most Versatile Plant-Based Protein” was recently released and in it he not only shares 125 recipes but also offers tips and dispels bean-cooking myths. Of course, he whipped up a batch of dishes that demonstrate just how versatile beans are.

The recipes include Orecchiette With Borlotti Beans, Bitter Greens and Lemony Bread Crumbs, a Lentil-Mushroom Farmer's Pie (no meat!) and the crowd-pleasing Chocolate, Red Bean and Rose Brownies

Ask us an inventive question this week or make a useful comment and you just might get a signed copy of Joe’s “Cool Beans” in the mail. We’ll give away copies of Joe’s cookbook to a few chat participants.

You and your readers have convinced me that I need to order some Rancho Gordo beans right now. Their website shows gorgeously hued beans, many of which I never heard of. I'm ordering anyway, but my question is, aside from the ones I am familiar with (black, lima, navy, garbanzo, etc) which I know how to use, can I assume that the other beans(e.g. Sangre de Toro, Yellow Indian Woman) are interchangeable in the recipes? Thanks for introducing us to more beans!

Here's the thing that's so wonderful about beans, especially heirloom beans: While they have some different qualities: coloring, texture (some are a little starchier, some a little creamier) and flavor (some a little nuttier, etc), they also are pretty interchangeable in recipes. I mean, your results might be different if you make tacos with, say, garbanzo beans rather than red kidney beans, of course, but they'll still be delicious. Having said that, I tend to group beans by their taste, texture and color for substitution purposes. So something like this:

  • Round, starchy, nutty and firm: chickpeas = black chickpeas = cicerchie
  • Very large, creamy and slightly sweet: large lima = fava = gigante = corona = scarlet runner
  • Medium, creamy, nutty: pinto = cranberry/ borlotti = pinquito = Jacob’s Cattle
  • Medium, starchy, almost a tad crunchy: black- eyed peas = lady cream peas = cowpeas
  • White/light green, creamy, smooth, firm: navy = cannellini = great Northern = flageolet = tarpais = coco
  • Red, meaty, full-flavored: red kidney = small red bean
  • Quick-cooking lentils/etc. that get soft but hold their shape: brown/green lentils = mung beans
  • Small lentils/etc. that collapse completely into creaminess: red/orange lentils = split mung beans (moong dal) = split black urad (urad dal)
  • Small lentils that stay firm and intact: french green lentils = black beluga lentils = Umbrian lentils = pardina lentils

I needed to bake some cookies for work at the last minute and of course, my brown sugar was a brick in the back of the cabinet. Microwaving it under a wet paper towel ended up softening up the edges so that I could hack off enough for the recipe. But is there any reason for me to ever buy brown sugar? I read that it's just white sugar and molasses. Can I just keep those two things on hand and "make" it whenever I need it? It seems like it would be easier and less of a mess than the microwave thing, and it'd be a lot cheaper than throwing it out. I've tried the slice of bread trick, but it was moldy by the time I needed to use it again. (Congrats on the book, Joe!)

You can totally just mix white sugar and molasses for brown sugar: 1 cup white sugar + 1 T molasses = light brown sugar. 

I heard these sugar bears help with keeping brown sugar from turning to stone.

I love nut bars, but my workplace is nut-free. What could I substitute when I make my own? More seeds? Thanks, love the chats!

This is a response from Nourish columnist Ellie Krieger: "I suggest using this recipe as a base. It starts off with more nut-free ingredients. Then, swap the walnuts and almonds out for 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds and and additional 1/2 cup sunflower seeds. Or, try these Nutty Oak Bars.

First, I GOT THE NOTIFICATION THAT MY BEAN BOOK SHIPPED! Joe, so excited! Secondly, we are an omnivore house. We adore all sorts of meats, but are also happy plowing through a pile of roasted veggies or a pot of lentil soup. We are also half Romanian. So Jim's veggie stuffed cabbage recipe is intriguing. While I doubt the younguns will try the mushrooms (I mean, I didn't at their age, despite growing up in the mushroom capital of the world), the grownups just might like it. Trouble is, we can't do walnuts due to a severe nut allergy. I fear the regular nut substitute of sunflower seeds or even pumpkin seeds won't have the the bite needed or that it'll taste like PB&cabbage...which might not work. Any suggestions for a sub for the walnuts? Or just leave out and up the 'shrooms?

From Jim Webster on the Stuffed Cabbage Rolls: 

"The nuts add a textural element. You could just leave them out and add more mushrooms; it would still taste great, but it might be a little less interesting. I think raw, hulled sunflower seeds would be an interesting alternative and could work really well. There would be no need to run them through the food processor first, because they're already about the size you're breaking the walnuts down to. Pumpkin seeds work too. And I don't know how you feel about such subterfuge, but if you don't tell the kids there are mushrooms in the filling, they might not guess!"

And thank you for the book order!

I cooked some freekeh, following the directions carefully. It came out... chewy. This is somewhat unexpected, but not unpleasant. Thinking it was not done, I simmered it another half an hour, but there was no appreciable change. The grain remained toothsome. Is this right? I was expecting it to be more like barley. This might be a good substitute for rice in soup, since it apparently does not get soft and mushy. Still, did I do something wrong, or is this just how freekeh is?

You're doing fine, that's just the texture!

when you publish recipes "adapted from" a cookbook or other source, how much 'adapting' is done? Sometimes it's mentioned, as in today's cabbage rolls (taken from meat to vegan) but often when it's from a cookbook review or excerpt- like today's Joe's beans recipes- it's unclear (from his book, tested by him). Is it a portioning/nutrition thing? Editing the directions for space &/or WaPo standards, with the ingredients and quantities usually left untouched? A blanket note like "bezos owns the post" for copyright reasons? Have always been curious whenever I see that, but never think to ask.

All of the above and more. Adapted from can indicate basically any editing we do. That includes things such as clarifying steps, tweaking ingredients, adding visual cues, adjusting servings, writing a fresh headnote and bringing things in line with our style. And yes, adapted from covers the fact that we are sharing another recipe with some modifications.

Hi, Joe - I enjoyed the excerpt from your book. I've been cooking more with beans and learned a bit about soaking or not, but still puzzled over when to add salt & acid, and never tried kombu. Freezing in liquid had never occurred to me. Plus from the online comments, I learned that in-/complete proteins is bunk!

Glad to help! Add salt and acid at the beginning if you'd like, unless it's more than a few tablespoons of acid, in which case wait until the beans are cooked!

And yes, that whole "complete protein" business has persisted for far too long after being thoroughly debunked!

Joe, I'm so excited that your book's coming out -- my mother-in-law preordered it for me as a holiday gift, and I've been eagerly awaiting. Congratulations!! My question: I always want to try Rancho Gordo beans, but they have so many that I get overwhelmed and don't know where to start. What 2-3 types would recommend? No particular recipes in mind, so something versatile would be best.

Just dive in and buy a few varieties and see where they take you. Maybe think about what you already know you love and branch out from there.

If you like cannellini beans, try the Marcella.

If you like lima beans, try the Christmas Lima.

If you like pinto beans, try the Rebosero.

If you like black beans, try the Midnight Black.

Thank you for your article in today's paper, especially mentioning that kombu can be used to reduce the gaseous effects. I don't cook with beans because of that. Is it possible that there are some kinds of beans that don't produce as much? If so, perhaps that could be a topic of a future article? Thanks again.

Yes, absolutely I encourage you to experiment with different varieties and see what affects you more or less. It's pretty individualized, really. And it depends on what else you're eating. For me, chickpeas and lentils have never been as, er, musical, as other beans. But if you use kombu and the pressure cooker, you will be reducing the gaseous effects. Also, try starting small and adding 1/2 cup of beans to your daily diet. Studies have shown that people who did that reported a decrease in flatulence after a couple weeks.

Your brief mention of the carcinogenic potential of acrylimide when many foods are roasted or fried led me to look at newer research (which also shows it can cause heritable genetic damage). Apart from potato chips and fries, a lot of the foods with the highest amounts are otherwise the healthiest (e.g.,hot cracked wheat cereal is waaay worse than Trix). Roasting cauliflower or broccoli makes it delicious, so people eat more veg; but few enjoy it boiled. The present state of the science is maddening: they now have data on the approximate amount of acrylamide when a given food is toasted, roasted, or fried... but there is no data whatsoever on what quantities might be high risk, moderate, or very cautious. I actually started trying to convert the parts-per-billion of acrylamide into some kind of guideline and gave up. (I most recommend EU materials, as they observe the Precautionary Principle [it ain't safe till proven] and aren't industry-driven.) So, how about an article where you ask some of these experts what changes, if any, they are making in their own lives? I've often found it to be really useful at an early point when the science isn't settled enough to make recommendations.

It's definitely not easy to parse. I felt like I had to at least mention it in connection with the Maillard reaction, but could be interesting to tackle more in depth at some point.


ARTICLE: The Maillard reaction: What it is and why it matters

Hi everyone, but especially hi to Joe. I met you yesterday at the Politics and Prose event, I told you about my Texas roommate who actually liked my veggie chili. Any particular beany recipes you recommend to win over the hard-core meat eaters?

Hi! Thanks for coming last night!

I'd say the Lentil-Mushroom Farmer's Pie (which we published in this week's Food) would be a really good one to start. Also, look for the Texas Bowl O' Red Beans in the book -- I'm proud of that one!

Joe, my friend and I have been inspired by your new book to throw an entire bean-themed party featuring a menu of your new bean recipes. Could you recommend music, activities, decor, etc. to complement the meal?

Too fun!

Music: Well, you could play your own, depending on people's reaction to eating all those beans, of course! And/or Louis Armstrong, the king of the red beans and rice.

Activities: Pin the bean on the donkey. Or string the bean on the necklace, which brings us to...

Decor: Bean necklaces!

Oh, play Mr. Armstrong, who used to sign his letters red bean and ricely yours. 

Congrats on the book Joe! One of my favorite childhood dishes is my mom's white bean/beef/carrot/onion soup. It's so comforting, warming, and satisfying. If you could choose only 3 types of beans to eat for the rest of your life, which ones would they be?

Thank you!

My desert-island bean is the chickpea. So versatile! (But I really want electricity on this desert island, too, for the IP!)

The other two? I'd say black beans and ... oh, this is tough: I'm going to go with gigante beans!

Hi. Two things -- How do you freeze butter and for how long? Please answer for regular and European butters. Also, which are the butter substitutes that tastes most like butter (not Country Crock!) and also are lower in saturated fat than butter -- and hopefully lower in calories, too?

Just freeze it in the original package before the sell-by date, and butter freezes very well and lasts safely for more than a year, although it will be at its peak within six months for unsalted and a year for salted. This is true for both regular and European butters.

My favorite vegan butter is Miyoko's cultured vegan butter, but it doesn't have lower saturated fat than dairy butter, I'm afraid. Chatters, any other ideas here?

Lentil-Mushroom Farmer's Pie Yuch. This why vegans should be stripped of their US citizenship and dpeorted to Canada.

Oh, go away. do I make homemade bread taste yeastier? I know it's not just by using more yeast. Is it longer rising times, more times proofing, adding gluten even to bread flour, more/less salt, more/less sugar, or some other technique? Thanks!

Yes, longer/more proofing times will definitely help. Using a sourdough starter or a sponge/poolish/biga/quick starter will help too. For the latter, you typically mix up a first batch of water, flour and yeast and let it hang out for a few hours or overnight, and then add more. That way you get a jump on fermented flavor. My pretzels, for example, used that strategy.

Soft Pretzels

RECIPE: Soft Pretzels

I admit I was skeptical of your tahini blondies - - and nervous about making them for the first time for a little celebratory office meeting. But I decided to forge ahead, and I'm glad I did! While I thought they were a little dry, everyone LOVED them and insisted they were perfect. (We're always so much more critical of our stuff than other people are, am I right?) And I know they weren't just humoring me because several of them took seconds and even thirds, and they never, ever do that when people bring in treats. My notes: if they were a little dry, it was my fault, not the recipe's because I cooked it a touch too long; the salt sprinkled on the top (I used kosher) was an outstanding flavor counterpoint; the sesame seeds I sprinkled on top added nice little touches of texture; and I used some whole and some chopped semi-sweet chocolate chips (because that's what I had), so it had nice big chunks to bite into, as well as just little chocolate flecks throughout. Two thumbs up for that great recipe!

Wonderful, thanks! I am so thrilled to hear that. People keep bringing them up, and I haven't had them since that recipe published and now I reallllly want them. I like your addition of sesame seeds!

Chocolate Chunk Tahini Blondies

RECIPE: Chocolate Chunk Tahini Blondies

Hi! I have just found out I'm expecting my first kid which is exciting and also terrifying. I know me and good food is my personal key to happiness and healthiness (read: I'll be a mess if I don't have semi-regular decent meals), so I'd like to fill my freezer before the kid arrives. I currently have great luck freezing individual ingredients (ground beef, pulled pork, chicken cubes for curries, etc., shredded zucchini) but not such good luck with casseroles, enchiladas, or other finished meals - the texture tends to suffer. Any suggestions for meals that endure freezing and re-heating, or general tips? Healthy options are great but so is cheese :)

LOL, welcome to impending parenthood! Expect that mix of excitement and terror to last, well, the next few decades? I'm 2.5 years in, and it's still there. :)

I'm hoping to do a freezer meals recipe roundup soon, as I still rely on it heavily. I make a lot of black bean burgers (uncooked) that I thaw and then cook in the skillet. Fully cooked black bean burritos work well, and then get crisped up in the skillet. Mac and cheese freezes, too. Lots of stews. I also keep plenty of base ingredients in the freezer, such as pesto, tomato sauce and homemade broth. And, of course, batches of cooked beans. ;)

Check out this new-parent recipe roundup I did. Some of the recipes are freezer-friendly.

new baby recipes

RECIPES: Bring another bundle of joy to new parents with these 7 make-ahead recipes

Also worth checking out our Make It Freeze It Take It collection.

"The Big Bang Theory" had an episode titled "The Leftover Thermalization," in which the cast reheats a massive meal consisting of the last dishes that Howard's mother cooked and froze before her unexpected death.  Watch here.

That's a sweet episode. And, you're right, it does provide a list of freeze-able dishes. 

Is there a formula for using mashed potatoes instead of cauliflower mash? I love cauli on its own (raw and cooked) and in lots of other recipes, but I'm not interested in pretending that they're potatoes. Should I just look up a traditional shepherd/cottage pie recipe and use the potato from that?

This recipe uses half potatoes and half cauliflower, so feel free to use all potato by weight if you don't want to branch out!

I wrote in a week or two ago asking for some suggestions for healthier treats I could bake and bring into the office for my colleagues the next day. You suggested morning glory muffins, but also said you had a new recipe coming out that would be just the thing. I'll admit I can't find it or missed it. Can you point me in its direction?

One option might be Nourish columnist Ellie Krieger's Fruit and Nut Energy Bars.

One of my favorite Ethiopian dishes is ful! Have you incorporated beans into breakfast dishes?

Yes! Love ful -- and have a couple takes on it in the book! Also baked beans are in there, and they're great on toast for breakfast, and chilaquiles, which are a classic. And more!

All you Food section writers put up with some serious nonsense in the online comments when articles first get published -- typically from folks who haven't tried the recipe! Some pre-cooking comments make sense, e.g., "just like my grandmother used to make," or sourcing recommendations, or substitutions for dietary needs. But "cauliflower - yuck!!" doesn't really advance the ball for anyone. The Jamie Oliver mac 'n' cheese situation was a recent case in point -- sheesh. So first, thanks for engaging with the comment section even when you have to wade thru some rudeness & nonsense. Secondly, do you ever wager amongst yourselves on which articles or recipes will blow up the comments section?

Thanks for your support. I agree that too much goes on that is not, well, nice or relevant or productive. In fact, I tried to gently point that out the other week and got lambasted. So that went great!

We don't take wagers but we've been at this long enough to have an idea what will set people off. Then again sometimes we don't. *shrug*

Yes, there are some unpleasant comments, but we also get lots of wonderful tips and encouragement. It just goes with the Internet territory.

A few months ago I was out shopping and came across something called a Bola Roja bean (Goya brand). They looked so interesting I had to buy a bag. I finally cooked them up last night to eat with rice - very tender and good flavor. Tonight the leftovers will become Pasta e Fagioli. Also for anyone who really loves kidney beans, Please to the Table by Anya von Bremzen has a recipe for a Georgian kidney bean salad with cilantro and walnuts that is to die for. There are other recipes floating around the internet but I think that hers is the best. I feel when I eat it that between the kidney beans and the walnuts it is actually clearing out my arteries a bit, so maybe it is not to die for but to live for? Enough from me.

I love the Georgian way with beans. I have a recipe in "CB" for lobio, a Georgian kidney bean stew, that I adore. You eat it with a simple-to-make corn flatbread and pickled cabbage...

I'm planning to abstain from meat (except for the occasional seafood) for Lent this year, which my husband is tentatively supporting. I have ordered a nice selection of Rancho Gordo beans, which I'm dying to try, and I've pre-ordered your book, Joe. What other sources can you suggest that will help me? I know I'm planning early, but that's just the way I am.

Really, I could go on all day but I will restrain myself...the Goya website has a fantastic recipe for black bean cupcakes with guava frosting. OMG.  I adapted this recipe with an all-purpose gluten-free flour and it came out really well ... one of the better GF baking outcomes I have had (I cook GF for a relative occasionally). You will never know have you eaten black beans in these cupcakes.

Nice! Sounds like you'd appreciate the Chocolate, Red Bean and Rose Brownies we pubbed this week, right?


I'm trying to figure out if I'm doing something wrong--I see pressure cooker recipes claiming things like a "30-minute meal" with a 25-minute cook at high pressure... but my experience is that when my Instant Pot is fairly full, the time to get up to pressure ends up being almost as long as the cooking time. (So that "30-minute meal" is more than 50 minutes from pressing "start" to having the cooker signal done.) Is there something wrong with my cooker (or my strategy) that's causing things to take so long to get up to pressure? Or is that one of those things that recipe writers just kind of glide over when talking about how long things take?

Ding ding ding! You're right. I think many people gloss over or leave out how long a pressure cooker takes to come up to pressure. You're not doing anything wrong. It can take a while when the pot is full. Soldier on, read the recipe carefully and factor in the extra time if it doesn't say. On the other side, people may not add in the time needed for a natural release or the time they want you to natural release before the quick release.

What are your favorite complete/one pot meals to make in a pressure cooker with beans? SO far I've only used the pressure cooker to cook the beans themselves (which turn out to be less expensive and more flavorful than the canned ones).

I tend to use the pressure cooker to, yes, cook just the beans -- or the beans with seasonings. In the book, there are pressure cooker instructions for Homesteader's New England-Style Baked Beans, Nigerian Stewed Black-Eyed Peas and Plantains (the plantains are cooked separately), and Cuban-Style Orange-Scented Black Beans, among others...

Hi Joe: So excited to see the article about your new book. I've been a bean lover forever but am always looking for new ideas, especially when chiles and eggplants get involved with beans. One of my latest favorites is from Priya Krishna in Indian (ish): White beans mashed and stuffed into poblano peppers with plenty of spices - omg just delicious and there is no end to the flavor directions you can go with other spices.

Yes! Chiles and beans go together like, well, like the best Mexican food you've ever had, right? There are plenty of recipes in Cool Beans that combine them, such as the one for Lalo's Cacahuate Beans -- that's the dish I mention in the lead of the excerpt. So simple and yet so good. As for eggplant, how about Humma-Noush? (You know what that's a combination of, right?)

I love Priya's book!

These stories were great and kudos to all of you for really putting your minds to a month of change. It sounds as though each of you found ways to continue the parts of the change effort that will serve you going forward. Becky and Jim, extra thanks for your Instagram posts!

Thank you! The Instagram component definitely helped keep me honest. Just picture me doing most of my posts on my morning commute on the bus and Metro. 


ARTICLE: Our month of 2020 food resolutions is complete. Here’s how we made better breakfasts, ate less meat and more.

I've been trying as many new legumes as I can find, thanks to an incredible Indian grocery near me, and I've just made a couple of recipes with desi chick-peas, or kala chana (black/brown chick-peas). they're tasty but they definitely don't get as soft as "regular" (kabuli) chana/chick-peas. Do I just cook them longer, if so how much longer, or do I just accept the chewiness? (Chick-peas are my all-time fave among legumes, all of which I love anyway.)

I love these too -- I make hummus with them in "CB"! (Along with black garlic -- very goth -- and preserved lemon.) Yes, just keep cooking them until they get tender. Impossible to know exactly how long because your batch could be older than mine, but when I tested that recipe for the book, it took up to 90 minutes to get the chickpeas tender on the stovetop and 30 minutes in the pressure cooker.

Joe, is this list in your new cookbook, which I'm trying to decide which indie bookstore to order it from?

Yup. And in individual recipes, I list lots of bean-variety options.

Garbanzo beans are one of my favorite garnishes on a leafy green salad. I also like a little thin-sliced fresh mild onion, radishes, carrots and canned beets -- plus leftover cooked corn kernels and thawed-out frozen peas.


Using the equal sign = instead of a comma or a semi-colon gives the impression that the legumes are the same thing, as in ceci for chick-peas. I'm sure you don't want us to make that mistake.

Even though I prefaced it by saying it's how I think about substitutions?

My favorite Rancho Gordon bean is the Santa Maria Pinquito bean. They taste almost smoky. I can just cook them and eat them straight with only a little salt. Are there any recipes for these in Joe's beantastic book?

Yep, they're so good! I include them as a possibility to use in s Enfrijoladas With Sweet Potatoes and Caramelized Onions. Anywhere there's a pinto bean, a pinquito will be a lovely sub.

Looking for a shortcut, I bought a jar of chopped garlic in oil. Those are the only two ingredients listed. It tastes nothing like garlic or like anything delicious as is. Have you come across any uses for this stuff? I'm now sure garlic bread is not one of them. I only used maybe a half a teaspoon so I’m stuck with almost a full jar.

Yeah, the problem is, as soon as something like garlic is chopped, it loses potency. Same issue with spices. I'd blend it up into a vinaigrette or throw it into a marinade.

Hi, So I have a toddler who has had lots of food issues. I'm working with his doc and specialists, but on my end I am needing to come up with new foods he might like, especially meats since he has a really hard time with those. Among the few meats he will eat are frozen fish fillets and fast food chicken nuggets (I wanted to avoid the latter but we had to give him something while we were traveling around the holidays. Since he liked the nuggets I decided to try to make them at home and am striking out every time. I've tried using chicken tenderloins and chicken breasts, and end up having to just split them with my husband because he will chew them a bit and then spit them out. They are always ending up dry, especially when I reheat them. Should I marinate them overnight in something? Should I pound and flatten them first (especially when it's breasts)? Any ideas for how to nail these nuggets would be great. Thanks!

Could it be the texture? Maybe ground chicken would be closer?

And how long natural pressure release takes! I got a wonderful hint for my Instant Pot from an Indian friend, who says to not just turn off (or hit cancel) when done, but unplug the IP and put a cold damp towel on top of the thingummy -- the vent device. Works like a charm.

Whenever one of my friends gets pregnant, I always make a double batch of albondigas for them. These Spanish meatballs are full of flavor, NOT a noodle casserole, and are great to be eaten right away or frozen in the spicy and slightly sweet tomato sauce. I always keep a portion for myself ;)


The new neighbors are a 30ish hetero couple with one child and another on the way. I'd like to know what *not* to give as a welcome gift of food, besides omitting booze and peanuts? Is homemade banana bread ok? How about something with cream and calories like flan? Should I avoid beans, hummus, etc because of gas, or favor them because they're good in so many ways -- Congrats on the new beans book, Joe!

How nice of you! Pregnant women are also advised to stay away from certain types of cheese and meat (here's a list from the FDA about foods to avoid). Otherwise, I say go with whatever you feel comfortable making. I definitely ate lots of beans while pregnant, as they are a great source of folate, which is key in pregnancy.

This is the recipe that introduced me to Camellia Beans. I will always be grateful. I can't believe it was all the way back in 2012: Red beans and rice.

For the expecting parent -- I made and froze a lot of muffins, pancakes, curries, and different types of chili. Package things in amounts for 1-2 so that you can defrost things quickly.

For a snack, she loved to fix a sandwich made with cold leftover baked beans between two slices of white bread. Even fed them to the dog!

I see nothing weird about this at all! 

I could never get anyone to tell me if I was supposed to cook them in just enough water for them to be done when the water was absorbed (like rice) or in plenty of water for set amount of time and then dumped and drained out of the pot (like pasta). Care to clarify for the record? Is it true for all beans? Or do you use difference techniques for different ones?

It's the latter, really. The problem with trying to cook them in just enough water to be done is that they might absorb more or less water depending on their age. So I use enough water to cover the beans by 2 inches if they've been soaked, 3 inches if they haven't, except for when pressure cooking, when I use 3 cups of water for every 1 cup of beans.

Whenever I eat something flavored with rose I feel like medieval royalty. Am always up for this.

And now, so will I. 

I feel it.

The first time I visited my elderly widowed father after I went (ovo-lacto) vegetarian, I made a batch of Black Bean chili, which I served Cincinnati-style over spaghetti, and topped with grated sharp cheddar. He paid me the ultimate compliment by saying he didn't even miss the meat in it!

Nice! This weekend for my next WV column I'm posting a recipe for roasted potato wedges topped with an easy black bean chili -- same idea!

Soooo, I made rash online decisions after the last chat & 20# of RG beans will have arrived by the time this chat is live (I'm terrible at making choices, wanted to try new to me varieties, & their website was such a pain that ordering the assorted pack seemed easier than navigating back & forth to get the # of individual bags needed for free shipping? ... I have big regrets). Guess it's a good thing a new bean cookbook is out, lol? FYI, I was/am already a bean fan, my hesitation wasn't "meh beans", it was "If I love these, a major component of my diet may becomes I'm no longer content with, knowing the alternative" (I'm currently happy with $0.69 cans / <$2 bags of dried and go through A LOT since they are my main protein source, so $5.95/# is a cost I can't justify more than occasionally). Stay tuned, gonna be a very bean-y spring in my house.

Welcome to the club! Which varieties did you get?

Orthodox Christians and Coptic Christians have a stricter fasting regimen than Roman Catholics. I often look at websites from these communities for creative recipes.

Good tip!

Congratulations on the book (and, yes, I'd love a signed copy!) I am curious about your favorite way to cook a pot of beans. I'm devoted to my IP, but results can be inconsistent. Am I sentencing my beloved Rancho Gordos to suboptimal results when I don't soak/boil/taste?

You definitely don't need to soak those RGs. In the IP, are you using enough water? I find that if I don't use at least 3 cups of water for each 1 cup beans when pressure cooking, it's more inconsistent. I go into more detail about my favorite techniques in the excerpt that we pubbed. Check it out!

ARTICLE: Beans are good for you, for the planet and for your dinner table. Here's how to cook them right.

I feel like I say this every chat - sorry if it's annoying but I must continue to evangelize: make Joe's Mushroom-Walnut meatballs! Do half American Black Walnuts and half "regular" walnuts if you like a game-y flavor a la boar or lamb. These puppies are a dead ringer for meat meatballs and will impress all your carnivore friends.

OK. I will.

For big-flavor bread, I recommend trying the techniques in Artisan Baking in 5 Minutes a Day.

Yes, I'm a big fan, too! Ran their focaccia recipe the other year. One of the benefits of their doughs is that they can hang out in the fridge for a week or two, meaning the flavor does improve over time.

Fast Focaccia

RECIPE: Fast Focaccia

Yuck? No way. I have a recipe which is one of our favorites. I never cooked with lentils until recently and now I'm trying to make up for lost time. My pantry is full of different kinds. So, so good.

Joe, congrats on the book. My husband and I are native Mainers who grew up smelling the beans cooking in the beanpot for hours every Saturday. He was in Maine, as we are now. I was in Northern New York with my family of Mainers in exile. We continue this tradition, frequently baking Great Northern beans or Yellow Eyes in the beanpot at home or going to an area bean supper, especially good if they're also serving brown bread and homemade pie. My son was just out of college when he called and asked for my recipe for baked beans. Although I was glad the family tradition was continuing, my heart sank. I don't have a recipe. It's more of a method, based on two recipes in a community cookbook published long ago in a small coastal city. I did figure out something for him. I love the names of beans, navy, pea, soldier. Once a man next to me at a bean supper said his family had Jacob's Cattle baked beans every Saturday because that was what his father planted.

I love NE-style baked beans! I lived in Maine for a year with my sister and BIL, and visit often, and adapted a recipe in "Cool Beans" from them that they got from a dog-eared copy of "Woodstove Cookery" by Jane Cooper. You first cook the beans plain until tender, then add all the flavorings and cook them again for a really long time. Stellar. I've made it in the IP, too, in two rounds plus some time on the saute function, uncovered, to concentrate the flavor. Jacob's Cattle are my favorite for that!

Thanks! I've been googling them for quite a while now because a Middle Eastern restaurant near us keeps this dish on their menu even though they never have it when I order it. They say "it's seasonal" but I've been going there for literally years and it never seems to be in season.

Oh, hope you love it!

Trying to get some people on the bean bandwagon, but the response is always, "We hate the texture." Hoping you have some suggestions for recipes where the bean texture (whatever that is) may be less discernible. Thank you

Well, sure, there are plenty where the beans are blended up into purees, for dips, and even dessert, like those brownies!

Does anyone have any insight into why people say they don't like leftovers? I don't get this at all. Dishes are sometimes better the second time, since the spices and whatnot get a chance to meld better. Most are at least equally as good, as long as you are not living exclusively on crispy, fried things. Does it make people feel impoverished? Did they have a bad experience? Are they afraid their friends will look down on them? I guess it's okay if you make only what you plan to eat, but if not it's incredibly wasteful.

It can be a lot of things, but also there's this concept called "flavor exhaustion," which is like when you eat something so much you get sick of it. Some folks' threshold is lower. But yeah, we're not here to shame anyone. 

I was raised eating frozen mixed vegetables and have been a lima bean hater (and lukewarm about beans in general) ever since. As a kid, I always ate all my veggies, but my mom knew better than to insist that I stay at the table until I finish the limas because she knew that would never happen. Well, now I'm an adult, and beans are starting to grow on me, especially since I've started buying Rancho Gordo. But I still smart at lima beans. Can you suggest the first recipe that I should start with that to replace my childhood trauma with lima love? I ordered Cool Beans last night, so I'll soon be able to cook anything in there! (Really looking forward to trying out the red bean/rose things you printed today...)

I have a recipe for simply marinated lima beans that I think is so good -- I got it from Amy Chaplin, author of "Whole Food Cooking Every Day." Check it out! Also, if you have access to fresh lima beans ever -- we get them at the farmers markets in DC every late summer -- snap them up. I include a recipe that uses them with preserved lemon and butter that's a keeper, too.

I've been buying no-salt-added canned beans for years. Then my sister gave me a couple of packages of dried beans: one was a soup mix, the other was Anasazi beans. I don't have a pressure cooker, so I soaked each of them overnight and cooked them the next day. Not something I'll make on a weeknight! Also, last fall I bought several pounds of fresh beans at the Baltimore farmer's market, cooked them and froze them in sandwich baggies for individual portions. I'm a bean lover now. I buy Beano tablets in the large size container!

Welcome to the cult!

Every few years I get amped up about making Indian pickles, but then I chicken out due to my inability to find safe recipes (yet somehow billions of Indians eat them...). The citrus is looking so great right now I am trying again. I think maybe I could do a north African style salt-preserved citrus but add Indian spices, and leave out the oil of Indian style pickles. Any suggestions? Is Cathy on today--hi Cathy, any experience with Indian pickles?

Why aren't they safe?

I've decided this will be dinner tonight but I only have russets, no yellow potatoes. I certainly could swing by the store and buy some but what is the difference? Do the yellow ones cook faster or get more soft than russets?

I think you'll probably be fine! I suspect Bonnie may have gone with yellow because their creamier texture is especially nice here, while the russets are fluffier and starchier. Don't think that will make or break this delicious dish, though!

Spanish Eggs and Potatoes

RECIPE: Spanish Eggs and Potatoes

Don't forget the red popcorn - it is the best popcorn available!


Most are still fine two days later, so you can have a different dinner menu on the evening in between, rather than feeling burned out from repetition.

Good tip. Also, often, you can make a new dish out of leftovers. Leftover broiled chicken, make chicken tacos....

Ground chicken is a good suggestion, but I would also try finely chopped cooked chicken. Dust with cornstarch and throw in an egg for a binder maybe. They may be dry - you will probably have to experiment a bit - but this may give you something closer to what you need.

The best lentil dish I ever had was a small side of lentil salad with sweet red peppers and other stuff I can't remember. do you have a recipe or suggestions on what would go into such and how to dress it?

Yum -- sounds good. Were the lentils still a little firm? I like to use French green (le Puy) lentils for such a thing. Olive oil, lemon, feta?

I was famous as a child for saying: I HATE leftovers! They're always leftover from something I don't like! I was quite the picky eater when I was a child...

I just put the whole package in a gallon freezer bag, squeeze out the air, seal and keep it in the cabinet. A year later and it is still crumbly. I just checked.

For fast and tasty you can't go wrong with the Mediterranean/Middle East canned six bean mixes. Makes a great veggie chili


I just bought a big head of cauliflower, which I usually use part of as a raw snack and the rest gets cooked in one way or another. What I'm wondering is, what about those brown spots? I tend to scrape them off or cut them out but I'm wondering if restaurants take the time to do that and the same for frozen foods. Maybe I'm trimming them unnecessarily? Editor's Note:

I trim off those brown spots, too -- that's where the cauliflower is starting to go off.

Joe--what do you consider to be the creamiest bean of all? On another note--chickpeas, while I eat them, are my least favorite bean of all. A few years ago, however, I got some very small ones on a prepackaged salad in a grocery store in Orlando and quite enjoyed them. (They were less "mealy" than I find regular chickpeas.) Any idea what those might have been? They really seemed like "baby" chickpeas!

They were probably desi chickpeas -- delicious! Look for them in Indian markets. 

As for the creamiest bean of all (why do I feel like we're in a production of "Snow White" all of a sudden?), I'd vote for the cranberry/borlotti bean. So creamy and good.

I'm doing an at-home happy hour for a couple of friends, and I'm looking for foods that can come together quickly (or made the night before). I'm planning on doing a charcuterie platter of sorts with cheeses, olives, meat, etc. as well as some of my "fancy popcorn" (brown butter and rosemary). Also probably some sort of hot artichoke dip. What am I missing? What else would be good? (I'll also take easy cocktail ideas if you've got 'em)

I'm thinking you might be able to pull some ideas from my New Year's roundup.

drinks and snacks

ARTICLE: 6 New Year’s snack and drink recipes to get you out of the kitchen and into the party

As to artichoke dip, here's a dip post I did!

hot dips

ARTICLE: Warm dips are the perfect dish to fire up your game-day party

I've never purchased it because I thought it would go bad before I could use it all. Then I saw the show about the Chinese prisoners and I decided it really doesn't take that long to chop it myself. True or not, it put me off.

I make Hoppin' John as a good luck meal and as a veggie heavy meal (still use bacon). I used to buy frozen black eyes that were frozen from fresh--much like Fordhook lima beans. The ones I get now are cooked from dried. My father missed field peas so much when I was young that we had a pick your own field pea farm. We never had dried peas--those were seed. I wasn't a fan of field peas then, but I remember lady peas, Texas cream peas, crowders, purple hulls, and other varieties that came as seed from the Southern states. Black eyes were the fall back pea. Where can I find frozen from fresh, green field peas?

Hmm, I wish I knew -- because I would buy tons of these, too. As I mentioned in another answer, here in DC we usually get fresh lima beans -- and also fresh black-eyed peas -- in farmers markets in late summer. I buy a ton and freeze them myself. So I'd say check the markets in your area -- particularly if you're in the South.

Otherwise, have you checked out Camellia beans? I love them, especially for the field peas -- they sell lady cream peas that I adore and feature in a couple recipes in "CB."

Back in CA, I could just throw the box of brown sugar into the pantry and it would be soft for months. But with our awful weather in DC, it turns into a brick. An easy fix for me was that I noticed boxes never turned brick-like on grocery shelves or in the pantry (unopened). So I started to buy two pounds bags of brown sugar, and after opening, I would spin the bag until there was no air left, just sugar, in the bag. I then put a rubber band around the top to keep it tightly closed. This works; I have never had a bag of brown sugar harden.

Nice! Thanks for the tip!

Hmm...I had not thought of grinding the chicken. I may give them a go, thanks! Do you have a recipe you can recommend? While on the subject of using ground up meats: I want to try to make meatballs to see if he will try them, but I'm not crazy about parmesan cheese. Do I HAVE to use it? Is there something else I can use? Would it screw things up if I omit or reduce the amount since I don't care for it in more than in small doses.

This recipe from our archives might do the trick: 

One-Two Chicken

As for meatballs, it depends on the recipe.

In addition to being a loyal Post subscriber, I read the NYT. Today on their food page (online at least) was an article about naked cooking. It was more of a lifestyle piece than an actual recipe-containing food article but....what the heck? I'm so glad *you* are my local source for interesting, useful, and timely food news.

Thank you! I thought that story was fun, though. (One day I'll tell you about an apartment complex in Austin where I lived for a couple of, um, interesting years.)

(I liked that story)

Ordered their "20 big ones" pack for max ease (oh jeez do I wish I'd waited- this chat is answering all the questions I was having about what to try from all the varieties I'd never heard of!), so 17 different types plus dbls of chickpeas, midnight black, & yellow eye

So great! Do that a couple more times, and you might approach the quantity of beans I have in my pantry! 

I keep it in a Ziplock container with a small piece of damp (not dripping!) paper towel taped to the lid. Whenever I use some, I replace the paper towel with a new, dampened one.

These are interesting tips. 

I keep reading that the green bean/string bean dishes I find so mushy (you know, cooked with bacon, Greek style) used to be made with much heartier varieties of those beans. Does your cookbook specify what these varieties are and where to find them?

I love those long-cooked green bean dishes. The mush is the point, but that's my Southern heritage speaking. 

"Cool Beans" deals primarily with beans that we cook from dried for the seed, not ones we cook fresh with the pods like green beans.

I tried Becky's recipe for soft pretzels, and it was a fun adventure, but I somehow took a wrong turn. Asking because from the article, sounded like Becky did several test runs. All seemed good, the boiling part resulted in some misshapen, but ok pretzels. When baked, stuck on the pan (put salt on the pan previously). They were hard as rocks. Did I over bake them? I will try again .

Hm! Did you also grease the pans? That is really key, and if there wasn't enough oil, that would make them stick. Basically every time I made pretzels, they stuck except for when I greased the pans or used silicone baking mats.

Boiling can sort of make them look ugly, depending, but they usually end up okay after baking. 

As to hard as rocks, hard to say! Did you bake for the time the recipe said, or longer? Does your oven run hot? Do you think you got enough rise out of the dough initially? Is it possible an ingredient was left out or measured wrong?

Happy to help troubleshoot offline, too. Drop me an email, if you like.

I made a batch on Saturday and cooked one 9" pan. The remaining dough went in a ziplock bag in fridge. Last night I baked that to go with chicken and gravy dinner. Really like this recipe - nothing like fresh warm bread with dinner.

Yes! Thank you! It can be hard to figure out how to get warm bread on the table in a relatively short amount of time, but this recipe makes it easy.

Sure hope they don't do any frying!

Right? Or, if they do, they wear sturdy aprons.

Hi - thanks for taking questions. I'm wondering if it would work to completely cook the sausage, assemble a sandwich, and then freeze it for later. If so, how long should I defrost/heat in the microwave?

Hmmm, I wouldn't freeze the sandwich. I could see the bread coming out weird as it defrosts with the other ingredients. I think this is the kind of thing best made at the moment. I guess you could fully cook the sausage and freeze that, thaw and briefly reheat in the skillet.

breakfast sausage

ARTICLE: Build a better breakfast sandwich with this homemade turkey sausage patty

Dean Martin's monster 1953 hit record "That's Amoré!"* came out when I was in elementary school, and back then none of us kids knew yet what either pizza pie or "pasta fazhool" were (no Italian Americans where we lived). As an adult, I've learned that one of the beauties of Pasta e Fagioli is that it can be made in vegan, lacto-ovo vegetarian or omnivore versions. Puréeing about 1/3 of the cooked beans makes the soup liquid really creamy, too! *Younger readers will recognize the song's revival in the film "Moonstruck."

We use it in an upcoming headline!!

Love that movie, and that song. This makes me want to make meatballs and spaghetti and have a movie night.


I typically resort to canned beans to save time, but don't love the salt that is often added- would prefer to control salt levels on my own- but don't ever feel like I have time to soak beans. I don't have space for IP/Crockpot in my kitchen so can't cook them that way. How can I go about splitting the difference between time saving and taste/added salt?

Don't soak, and cook them on the stovetop! It helps if you buy beans that are a little younger -- within a year or two of being dried -- like those sold by Rancho Gordo. 

I made the no fry eggplant parm recipe last night. While the flavors are good, I'm not thrilled with the texture (too mushy for me). Is there any reason why I can't just scrape off the breadcrumb mixture and take my immersion blender to the rest and turn it into a smoother sauce? I think it'll be ok, but is there anything I'm not considering?

Sorry, I'm confused! You want to puree the entire dish?

I meant to grate havarty for a dish, but I was distracted after I took it out of the refrigerator. It turned to a paste in the food processor/grater. What can I use it for now?

Quesadillas? Grilled cheese? Fondue? A melty cheese topping for something?

Surely they must be see-through.

Don't forget to get a split of Mumm's and a sugar cube to drop in it (ugh).

Ugh is right, but that's one of the very few missteps in that movie. :-)

There are some foods I do not like reheated. I deal with it by making smaller portions overall, and/or changing the recipe for the leftovers. Roast turkey - it tastes different reheated than fresh. I can make do if I put it IN gravy rather than by itself. Stuffing - it gets mushy, and I can't get the crispiness back. Pork loin - similar to turkey, it just tastes and smells different reheated. Scrambled eggs, definitely not - they get a metallic taste. Quiche, however, I'm fine with reheated. But many other foods I am fine with as leftovers. Soup, casseroles, pizza. Just depends.

Here is a dish I serve (but in the summer only!) that always converts the lima-skeptics at the table: 1 medium onion, finely chopped 1/2 pint fresh lima beans (this is the size sold fresh at various farmers' markets) 2-3 ears fresh corn 3-4 T unsalted butter 2 C chicken stock (or vegetable stock or water - but chicken stock best) salt and pepper mince a medium onion and saute in medium pot with unsalted butter for a long time at a low temp until beginning to brown meanwhile, sort lima beans by size - once onion is done add chicken stock (or water or vegetable stock) to pot and put in largest beans - simmer uncovered at low temp (goal will be to have most of the liquid gone when dish is done but not a crisis if some left) Gradually, add smaller beans - goal is to add the tiniest just before you add the corn. Scrape corn off cobs into pot, turn up heat, add salt and pepper (and perhaps another nugget of butter), and cook for about two minutes and voila!


While I love rancho gordo and buy both canned and dry beans in supermarkets, I'm always on the lookout for more local bean varieties. I grown crowder peas in the summer (a type of black eyed pea) but that harvest is a long way off. Any local products I can get my hands on?

Purple Mountain Grown sells dried beans and grains at the Takoma Park Farmers Market. Next Step Produce grows beans in Maryland, but I'm not sure they sell at any markets anymore! Local chatters, any other thoughts?

I believe the safety factor is that they often include oil...

This piece might give you a little more clarity on the oil.

For Joe: Convincing my spouse that I should order $50+ of "special beans" in the mail is taking some time. Until I win this protracted battle, are there other good brands of dried beans that I can find at Mom's or Whole Foods that will tide me over? Thank you!

Sure -- look for Timeless Natural Foods' lentils, Bob's Red Mill beans and Zursun beans. Also, Rancho Gordo sells at some local stores -- Each Peach, Little Red Fox and Glut Food Coop.

Can I make these in a pan instead of a muffin tin? They won't be as pretty, but I'm all about ease... and my tin is a tiny one, with only six muffin holes!

Sure! Just pay attention to the doneness cues I mention in the recipe more so than the exact time, cause it'll differ depending on size/depth. And you might not be able to get it out in one piece (unless you use a parchment sling), but just cut them into squares!

We're lucky enough to have a large vegetable garden, and our favorite variety of green bean is the Romano flat Italian bean. The young tender pods are the tastiest (pick while still flat), and at the end of the season we let the last picking stay on the vine until the pods dry, then shell them for their tan seeds, which we blanch and freeze for winter soups.

Love the Romanos! I like to cook them in tomato sauce until VERY tender.

I saw a baked chicken meatball recipe that I wanted to try with veggie chicken. Should I add some fat, to replace what the real chicken meat would have, and if so, does it matter what kind, i.e., oil, butter, etc.

I'm not really sure this is an easy switch to make, especially without seeing the recipe. If the recipe calls for chicken, is there a reason you still want to make it? Can you be open to a recipe designed to be meat-free? We have a few.

To the OP who gave up on lentils because of water-to-legume ratio questions, I say just hang in there. Because I learned to cook lentils in a soup my MIL made that had no recipe at all, I just kinda kept an eye on them and added water as needed - and in little batches. I do the same with grits/polenta, as she could never tell me what ratios to use. So this died-in-the-wool-baker-turned-cook has learned to cook those two things, at least, by feel. Scary, sometimes, but you can do it!

Wise words!

In the rest of New England, we call them Maniacs. ;)

I have heard it!

Next day solidified bean soup between buttered bread slices - that's a favorite here.

Into it.

I think my favorite bean dish has got to be Cholay Bhatura- so satisfying! The chickpeas are indescribably savory, and the fried bhatura bread is pillowy and flavorful. Looking for a good home-kitchen recipe for cholay bhatura, if you have?

I do not, but now I'm on the hunt!

on my Rancho Gordo order as we speak. Joe is clearly a plant for the RG enterprise.

Ha! If only!

I've been trying for a good crispy pizza crust in the oven, and the cast iron recipe sounds great! Any suggestions for adapting to a 10-inch cast iron?

You could make it in a 10-inch. You can just cut your dough down just a bit, maybe 12 to 13 ounces. Let me know how it turns out.

Wow, what an eye-opener! Thanks so much Becky, I had no idea there were so many foods to avoid during pregnancy because of health concerns!

Yeah, it can feel daunting. That list is for sure erring on the side of caution, although some people argue especially that the cheese warnings are a bit much. But better safe than sorry. Any time there's a risk of listeria, though -- big no-no.

A chatter complained about the amount of sodium in canned beans. I am finding lots of no-salt canned beans, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, etc. in my local grocery store. It is much easier to find these products now, compared to 20 years ago, when I could only find them in the health food specialty stores. I have high blood pressure and avoid salt as much as possible.

Agreed -- they're lots of places! It's also nice that so many bean companies sell them in BPA-free cans -- and in glass jars and in asceptic cartons, too!

The shrub from which tea leaves are obtained, Camellia sinensis, can be grown outside all year in Washington area gardens. Try it!

She fed beans to a dog? I'm guessing the pup didn't sleep in her bed with her...

Use thin slabs of leftover roast turkey to make Turkey Piccata (with white wine and lemon juice in the sauce). Since the meat's already cooked, the dish comes together in just minutes.

Good idea. 

My church's plant based group had a potluck last weekend and of the 45 or so dishes there, I think about 1/2 contained chickpeas, including at least 6 chickpea curries. So my totally unscientific observation is that chickpeas are #1 (at least in the DMV) with black beans #2. Kidney beans, a distant #3.

Chickpeas are definitely popular!

Any chance he'd go for baked falafel nuggets? My toddlers loved those and they became gateway drugs into the world of mediterranean foods - hummus, tahini, baked eggplant, etc.

I bought a brown sugar canister that has a clay disk on the inside of the lid, and it seems to keep the sugar soft, not sure about the science behind it.

This chat has inspired me to make a batch but I only have active dry yeast in house (not. Dried instant). What's the best way to adapt it, or is a grocery run needed?

Yikes!!! I'd never heard that. Think I'll toss the jar. Thanks for the info, whoever posted that!

Thanks for the lively chat this afternoon.

The chatter who asked about Rancho Gordo faves (and interchangeability), the one who asked about a bean-party playlist, and the one who asked about beans for breakfast will each get a signed copy of "Cool Beans." Send your mailing info to, and she'll get you your book!

See you next week.

In This Chat
Joe Yonan
Joe is the Food and Dining editor of The Post and the author of "Eat Your Vegetables," "Serve Yourself" and the upcoming "Cool Beans." He writes the Weeknight Vegetarian column.
Carrie Allan
Carrie is The Post's Spirits columnist.
Emily Heil
Emily is a staff food writer at The Post.
Olga Massov
Olga is a food editor at The Post.
Becky Krystal
Becky is the lead writer for Voraciously.
Kari Sonde
Kari is the food editorial aide.
Ann Maloney
Ann Maloney is the Food section recipes editor.
Cathy Barrow
Cathy Barrow is the author of "Pie Squared: Irresistibly Easy Sweet and Savory Slab Pies" (Grand Central Life & Style, 2018).
Tim Carman
Tim is a staff reporter for Food and writes a weekly column on casual dining for Weekend.
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