Archive for February, 2010

Even more photos of Jack

February 2, 2010

More photos of Jack Sassone

February 2, 2010

Red Beans & Rice

February 2, 2010

Red Beans and Rice

I was reading over this recipe, and to tell you the truth, I can’t remember the last time I saw a rock in my beans, but I’ll leave that in there for old times’ sake. I do throw away the ugly and broken up beans.

1 pound red beans (preferably Camellia brand)

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons oil or bacon grease

pickle meat, or a ham bone, or ham hocks

2 bay leaves

2 to 3 quarts water


Rinse the beans and pick out any rocks. Soak for a few hours or preferably overnight. Drain and rinse. In a large pot, sauté the onion and garlic in the oil for about 5 minutes. Add the meat, rinsed beans, and bay leaves, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 2 hours, or until the beans are soft enough, but not yet falling apart. Taste for salt and adjust seasoning (depending on how salty the meat is). Remove about a half cup of beans and mash them with a little of the liquid. Stir back into the pot and continue to cook for about 20 more minutes. Serve over rice.

Jack Sassone

February 2, 2010

We lost my father-in-law, Jack Sassone, last week. Jack always had a good time wherever he was, and everybody loved him. He was such a funny guy.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he and my mother-in-law were with us in Vicksburg, Mississippi, along with a number of other family members and friends, waiting to hear the status of their homes and businesses. Rather than sit around and obsess about what was going on in New Orleans, Jack and Edith volunteered at the Vicksburg Convention Center, where an impromptu refugee center had been set up, with volunteer doctors, nurses, counselors, etc., and a lot of donated medicine. The doctors didn’t know what was available to give to evacuees, because the meds were not in any order. Jack and Edith arranged for shelves to be set up and got the “pharmacy” in order — talk about being in the right place at the right time!

During that time, most of Vicksburg was without power due to power lines being down from trees and wind. Thankfully I have a gas stove with 6 burners. Everyone from New Orleans had brought whatever was in their refrigerators, and we were running across the Mississippi River to Louisiana for ice every day for the ice chests lined up in the kitchen, until our power came back on. We were making meals for somewhere between a dozen and two dozen people daily. There was no place to eat out, and the stores were running out of supplies. Edith had arranged for them to stay in a bed and breakfast, but the b&b had no food to offer. Others were temporarily renting apartments, my children located friends outside of town who had air conditioning, and Randy and I were “holding down the fort” on Cherry Street.

Everyone would come over for lunch, and lunch was whatever we had in the ice chests — cold cuts, salads, fruit. I cooked a big pot of something for dinner, on top of the stove, by shining my flashlight into the large pot to watch what was going on in there — red beans and rice, gumbo, jambalaya, things like that. When the power came back on, I remember lasagne, quiches, and blueberry cobbler and muffins (my Vicksburg friend Leah still didn’t have power, and she had gallons of blueberries in her freezer).

When Jack arrived at the house each day, he asked “What’s for dinner at Cafe Sassone?” Hence, the name of the book.

I have a number of photos of Jack in Cafe Sassone, and as I get time, I’m going to try to upload them here, along with the recipe for Red Beans and Rice.

This is the photo from the title page of the Beverages section.