Bean Soup at the Capitol in 1955

In 1955, Ed was a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, stationed at Fort Belvoir near Washington DC.  He and I did not meet until four years later, in 1959, when I was a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Ed was a civilian again, working on his doctorate in horticulture.

In January 1955, Ed and an Army buddy spent a day in downtown Washington DC, visiting Wisconsin Congressman Glenn Davis in the U.S. House of Representatives. The image below is a photo taken that day on the steps of the capitol — Congressman Davis in the middle, Ed on the left and buddy Bob on the right.


bean soup blog photo.jpg

The picture is the front side of a photo post card, a souvenir of the visit to the congressman.  Ed sent the postcard to his parents back on their farm here in Wisconsin:  Mr. & Mrs. Theo. Hasselkus, R.R.1, Dousman Wis..  The message he wrote on the back offers a glimpse of his military life during that time.

“Dear Folks, Everyone is excited about orders now.  I am going to Europe, but don’t know what country yet. . . “

The House of Representatives had a restaurant and Congressman Davis took Ed and Bob to lunch that day.  On the souvenir menu was House of Representatives Bean Soup, complete with recipe.  Ed cut the recipe out and it’s been tucked in the soup section of my recipe box for the past 56 years.  We always make it several times during the cold months. The aromas are divine as the kettle of soup cooks slowly for an entire afternoon. We just finished a batch the other day, and there is plenty left over in the freezer.  Here is the recipe — it couldn’t be simpler.  Enjoy!

Recipe for Bean Soup

Served in U.S. House of Representatives Restaurant

2 LB. white Great Northern Michigan beans.

Cover with cold water and soak overnight.
Drain and re-cover with water.
Add a smoked ham hock or shank [has more meat] and simmer slowly for about 4 hours until beans are cooked tender.  Then add salt and pepper to suit taste.
Just before serving, bruise beans with large spoon or ladle, enough to cloud.
(Serves about six persons.)

P.S. Ed ended up being sent to England — working to convert air bases to handle take-off and landing of jets.

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