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In about 1952, my father, Dr. Lloyd Marion McCormick, was honored by the
United States Supreme Court. I have never known for what. He flew back to Washington D.C., and met with Justice Wm. O. Douglas. He was taken to the Courthouse and appeared before the Court for some ceremony, and he was given some sort of a certificate. After the ceremony, Justice Douglas took him to lunch at the U.S. Senate Cafeteria.

The waiter asked for their orders, and Justice Douglas said he would like to have the bean soup. Father said, "Beans are for poor people. We don't eat beans." Justice Douglas told him that the bean soup served there is the very best, and if all the diners in the U.S. Senate Cafeteria are "poor people," then so be it. Father ordered bean soup.

When they had finished eating their lunch of soup, salad, and rolls, Father asked for the recipe for that lovely bean soup. This is it:

(from United States Senate cafeteria)

1 ½ cups beans (small whites, navy, or great northern)
2 ½ quarts boiling water
2 lbs smoked ham hocks (or 1 ½ cups cubed cooked ham)
6 peppercorns
1 cup chopped onion
¼ cup diced green pepper
¼ cup butter
2 cups chopped celery
1 cup thinly-sliced carrots
4 diced potatoes
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste (ground pepper)
2 tbsp flour
½ cup chicken broth or bouillon
snipped parsley for garnish

Wash and pick over dried navy (or small white) beans. Soak beans overnight in water to cover. (Or, bring to a boil in pot with lid, turn off heat, allow to set, with lid still on, for one hour.) Drain.

In large pot (or crock pot), pour boiling water over the beans. Add smoked ham hocks or cubed cooked ham, and peppercorns. Simmer slowly.

Meanwhile, sauté chopped onion and diced green pepper in butter until
golden. Add to soup, along with chopped celery, thinly-sliced carrots, and diced potatoes, after about 1 1/2 hours cooking. Total cooking time on low in crock pot, 4 hours (provided that beans have been quick-soaked or soaked overnight).

Remove ham hocks and slice off the edible meat, returning it to the soup. Add salt, and ground pepper to taste. About 15 minutes before serving, mix flour with chicken broth or bouillon. Add to soup and stir until soup is thickened. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Serve with green salad and French bread.


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