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17th Amendment to the Constitution ~ Senate ~ Senate Bean Soup

Today, in 1913, the 17th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified. Prior to the 17th Amendment, Senators were appointed by state legislatures. Imagine your state’s legislature appointing your two senators, with no public vote. Anyway, the 17th Amendment “fixed” that. Under this Amendment, Senators are now elected by public vote.

Here is a history of the corruption, bribery, and public outrage that led to ratification of the 17th Amendment. You can read the 17th Amendment here. Since our current Senate gives me gas, so to speak, let’s make a little Senate Bean Soup.

Bean Soup has been served in the Senate Dining Room since 1903. There are a couple of stories about why it has been served, a couple of different recipes. You can read the stories and see the differing recipes here.

You can cook the current version (serves a regular family) or the old version (makes 5 gallons). Personally, I like my own version:

1 pound small white beans, rinsed & picked over
Splash of olive oil
2 ham hocks (or a leftover ham bone, with ham left on it)
2 bay leaves
1 onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

After you’ve inspected the beans, rinse them in cold water. Put them in a soup pot, cover them with water, and let them soak over night. The next day, drain and rinse them.

Put the beans, ham hocks & bay leaves into the soup pot. Cover them with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until beans are almost tender. Throw in the onion, celery & carrots. Bring back up to a simmer. Simmer until the beans & veggies are tender.

Take the ham hocks & bay leaves out. Ditch the bay leaves. Take the ham off the hocks, chop into bite-sized pieces, and put it back into the soup. Bring it all up to temperature, and serve!

NOTE: You have to taste this all along the way for salt & pepper.

I like to serve this with cornbread and a spinach salad.

Now … Eat Your History!


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