Let’s Eat — A Writer’s Guide to Cooking

Not long ago, we baked a tasty eight-pound hickory-smoked ham with the bone in. After the meal, we saved the bone with a fair amount of meat attached to use as a base for beans. Then we ate ham sandwiches for a couple of days. After that, a couple of slabs still remained, so I cut those into smaller pieces to add to the beans, which I finally got around to making yesterday.

As usual, I took a very simple approach. I rinsed and soaked a pound of small white beans, then rinsed them again about eight hours later. I put the bone and ham in a large pan, dumped the beans on top of them, and filled the pan with hot water. The water was about an inch from the top. I started the beans cooking, then set about preparing the other ingredients, which, this time around, turned out to be five cloves of garlic, half a large yellow onion, a section from a large bell pepper about an inch wide, several sprigs of parsley, and some tender leafy celery taken from the very center of the stalk, and a couple of russet potatoes, which I peeled and quartered the long way, then sliced.

After the beans had cooked for about an hour, I cut the best ham away from the bone, then removed the bone with the remaining gristle and fat. The soup immediately sank to a more realistic level. I added the other ingredients, then put in some salt — remembering to take it easy, since the ham already had quite a bit of salt when we bought it. I added a good dose of black pepper, a small handful of dried purple basil, and about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.

About an hour and a half later, the beans were done. They tasted great, and, as it worked out, there were small bits of tender ham in every spoonful.

Next time, though, I’ll make one adjustment: instead of two potatoes, I’ll use four. For that matter, an extra cup of beans wouldn’t hurt. Leftovers, you know.

Also by William Michaelian

Winter Poems

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-0-4
52 pages. Paper.
Another Song I Know
ISBN: 978-0-9796599-1-1
80 pages. Paper.
Cosmopsis Books
San Francisco

Signed copies available

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