Weekends. We all have different reasons we love the weekend. All week long, we work hard, counting down the days until Friday. I love my job as a hospice social worker, so much so that it doesn’t feel like work. However, nothing compares to being at home with my family on the weekends. What do I love most about weekends? The familiar sounds and delicious smells of Saturday mornings make up my weekend dreams. I love waking up, hearing the music playing in the kitchen, smelling the bacon cooking, and hearing little footsteps and laughter in my house. When I walk into the kitchen, my husband greets me with a kiss, a cup of coffee, and a dance. It’s so simple, but it is truly my happy place. I walk into the living room, hear the Saturday morning cartoons, and am greeted by beautiful children, still sleepy, messy hair, wrapped up in blankets, asking for pancakes. Being a wife and mother is hard, but so rewarding, especially in little moments like these. Life has been extra sweet lately, and I am soaking it all in.
So, my life has been through so many changes the last couple months! I accepted a new job, working as a social worker for Acadian Hospice and Palliative Care. My heart is so full every day when I get home from work, knowing I helped someone die with dignity and grace. I bought a new car, and almost bought a new house. I am a Taurus, and Taurus’ hate change, by the way. But, all these changes taught me something. We all need to find our garden. No matter where you are, go find happiness. If you are around people who are hurtful, stop spending time with them. If your job isn’t fulfilling, make a move. If you aren’t healthy, join a gym and eat some veggies. Basically, find your garden, means to find a beautiful life, and spend time with people who will water your garden, not destroy it. Life is short, and must be spent only in happiness, or else, what is this all for? So, put your phones down, look up, and smile at others. You never know what they may be going through. Take time to enjoy your Saturday mornings with music and breakfast. Tell your spouse you are thankful for them, tell them something that they do really well. Life is a precious, precious gift. Don’t waste it.
Now, to the point of this post… we are going to talk about a woman who always lived for the moment. That woman is my paternal grandmother, my Granny. Granny was born Ivy Mae Talbot, but EVERYONE knew her as “Toot”, pronounced “Tuht”. Granny was born and raised in Labadieville, LA, where her family owned a local grocery mercantile store. She married my grandfather, Sterling Percle from Plaquemine, LA. Sterling (Paw Paw to me) was a quiet, kind man who allowed his bride to be herself. And boy, was she something else. My Granny was such a beautiful woman, inside and out. She had a larger than life personality, loved filling her wine glass to the brim, and celebrated Mardi Gras like it was Christmas. Maybe my apple didn’t fall far from her tree? Anyway, she was a great inspiration to me and I am so excited to share my story of her.
Pictured: Granny and I at Mardi Gras in Thibodaux
My way of sharing her story is to share her recipe for white beans with you. These white beans….well…they’re kind of famous. Everyone all over Thibodaux sought after this recipe for years. It was, however, kept a secret. After she passed away, we finally got our hands on it, and it is my go-to comfort food recipe ever since. Something about the smell, the taste, it brings me back to her kitchen, where I loved spending time with her. Anyone who knows my Granny (aka “Toot) knows about her white beans. I love making them with leftover ham meat and the ham bone. If you have a leftover ham from Easter you are about to throw away, don’t! Instead, use it to make these white beans! They are inexpensive and simple to make. My favorite part of making this dish? I have her handwritten copy of the recipe. A little piece of her is always with me when I cook it. Our family always tells “Toot stories” at every gathering. We laugh about how she methodically organized Mardi Gras beads, labeling the boxes “Long Pearl Beads” and “Very Long Pearl Beads” and “Very, Very long, nice, pearl beads”. Her house was always spotless. She taught me how to peel crawfish. She knew EVERYONE in Thibodaux, Napoleonville, Labadieville, and she would tell you stories about her “good friends” as if you knew exactly who she was talking about. She had beautiful, silver hair. She wore sassy little matching pantsuits. She was Southern. She was Cajun. She was beautiful, inside and out. Family was most important to her. My parents worked at the restaurant most holidays, so she would drive from Thibodaux to Plaquemine to pick up my brother and I, just so she could take us to the annual Easter crawfish boil at Aunt Joyce and Uncle Ray’s house in Napoleonville. When she cooked her white beans, she would reserve them in tiny little containers, and she’d hand them out to visitors. Such a delicacy, her white beans, guests were lucky if they went home with just a taste.
There is something so nostalgic about the recipe. I so enjoy cooking it, taking a step back in time, when things were simple. Before social media, cell phones, Kardashians and Wal-Mart, people were forced to live a slower life, where they took pleasure in the small things. I find myself drawn to these recipes and memories when things are tough, and I’m going through changes. Food and music has this effect on me….to transform me into who I once was, and embrace who I’ve become. Fact: there is nothing more soothing to the soul than a pot of white beans on the stove, good music playing in the background, and wine being poured. Everything around you just stops, nothing else matters. Granny loved calling friends over by saying “If you’d like to stop by I have some white beans on the stove”. No one turned down that invitation.
Here we go:
Music pairing: Cajun/Zydeco
Wine Pairing: Old Soul chardonnay
Tip: serve with jambalaya. My dad always served jambalaya with white beans and mixed them together. Refer back to previous post for jambalaya recipe
Granny Toot’s White Beans:
2 lbs white beans
1 lb salt meat (I use leftover ham and hambone, if I have it.)
2 onions, chopped
1 cup vegetable oil
½ teaspoon cayenne (I put more, like 1 teaspoon)
Soak beans overnight. In the morning, drain the beans. Put them in a pot in hot, clear water and bring to a boil. Boil until tender, when you can smash the beans to the side of the pot. Boil salt meat until tender and cut in to pieces (if using a leftover ham, skip this step. Simply cut the meat into small, bite-sized pieces. Reserve meat with the ham bone).
In another pot on medium high heat, put cut meat (if using leftover ham, add the bone)and chopped onions and cook until onions are cooked, translucent. Add this to the beans when they are tender. Cook everything for a while on low heat.
This recipe is simple, and it’s straight from Granny. I typed it from her actual recipe card. I love reading it, it makes me think of her. I miss her everyday.
Have a great week! Love you guys