Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Our family usually celebrates the New Year with a traditional meal, as I'm sure many other families do as well. This year, we are going to my grandmother's house for dinner, where pork, greens, and black eyed peas will be served--a southern tradition for many generations. Pork for good health, greens for "greenbacks all year," and black-eyed peas for good luck. I'm bringing noodles "for long life" (out of respect for my Japanese descent--my dad's mom was full Japanese).
Any leftover pork will be cooked into Senate Bean Soup, a recipe obtained by my grandfather during his years as a political writer for the San Diego Union. He covered the presidential elections (Johnson, Reagan, Nixon, and Bobby Kennedy), following the candidates to Washington D.C. Ever since, he was in charge of cooking this delicious bean soup.
... For anyone who is interested in the soupy historical details, here's a tidbit from Time Life's 1968 publishing of The District of Columbia: "...Every day on the menu of every restaurant in the Capitol Building can be found Senate Bean Soup...there is no record of the origin of this practice, but according to one story it originated not in the Senate but in the House, with a Representative who insisted that bean soup be served daily. Today, however the soup is especially popular in the private dining quarters in the Capitol's Senate wing, two adjoining rooms, one for Democrats and one for Republicans. The Senators' fondness for the soup does not make them gourmets. The maitre d'hotel says, 'if they don't choose Senate Bean Soup, they invariably ask for a hamburger.' " My mom has adapted this recipe into a version that is even tastier, in my opinion.

Above, top: Granddad and colleague in a SD Union article, August of 1968. Above, bottom: Governor Reagan and Grandma, 1968

Click here for Mom's Senate Bean Soup recipe.

1 comment:

Mel said...

Fascinating, I'm always surprised by your writing.