Susan Ford: How Do You Red Bean?


You’ve got to love Susan Ford’s “understated overstatedness” or perhaps the reverse or even perhaps Southern Stoicism — whatever, she is a treasure! Check out her Louisiana Kitchen and Culture mag.

Two summers ago, when hurricane Isaac was looming in the Gulf of Mexico, I took stock of my freezer to see what I could cook vs. lose in the inevitable power failure — I had all the makings for red beans, so I made a big batch the day before the storm was due. My husband made sure both propane tanks were full for our gas grill, and moved it under shelter. As it turned out, the storm stalled after the eye came ashore, and sat over us for 36 hours. Our power was out from Tuesday early until Sunday afternoon, and I ended up being cook for a lot of our neighbors. We stacked up ice chests in my kitchen and pooled our resources; Wednesday morning everyone brought over their breakfast items and we cooked breakfast on the grill. Those beans lasted for three days, and several neighbors declared them the best they’d ever had. What got everyone talking, though, was the spectacular Bolognese sauce I produced on the grill Saturday night; you can only hold a piece of beef in melting ice so long. I cooked the roast down in a couple of quarts of my red sauce that was also in the freezer, boiled some pasta, made garlic bread, and sautéed broccoli with garlic and lemon, all on the barbecue grill. The side burner was a lifesaver; my kitchen is (unfortunately) electric. No power in south Louisiana in August means we were miserably hot, and the food was pretty heavy, but we ate every bite.