My house is full of guests who have come for John Stewart’s “Sanity/Fear” rally.   One guest described it as a “Second Woodstock.”  I missed the first and may miss this one because of household chores and the need to look for a new job, but in line with the theme of the rally-and with the extremism of our national politics in mind-I offer recipes based on fear (scarcity and loss) and one on sanity (supply and success), both done with the utilitarian (and cheap) navy bean.   You’ll need  a Crock pot or slow cooker for both.

Feed the Fear Bean Soup

You will need:

  • 1 pound dry navy beans, soaked overnight
  • 2 ham hocks or ham bones
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • Parsley, rosemary, thyme
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • chopped ham or ham from the meaty bone
  • water to cover ingredients
  • salt and pepper to taste


In a large slow cooker, place soaked beans, ham bones or ham hocks, chopped onion, celery, herbs, minced garlic, and water.  Cook for six hours.  Season with salt and pepper.  Recipe serves 12 or more.

Celebrate Sanity Cassoulet

  • 1 pound dry navy beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 pound pork sausage links, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 whole onion, peeled
  • 3 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 pound bacon
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound skinned, boned duck breast halves, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 fresh tomato, chopped


Brown the sliced sausage over medium heat in a large skillet.  Stud onion with cloves.  Roll up bacon and tie with a string.  Make a bouquet garni– a bundle of aromatic herbs tied together– in this case, fresh parsley, rosemary, thyme.  Place soaked beans, sausage, bacon, onion studded with cloves, fresh herbs, bay leaf, carrots, minced garlic, and duck in a large slow cooker. Add enough water to cover the other ingredients. Cook for one  hour on HIGH. Reduce heat to LOW, and cook for six to eight hours. Remove onion, bacon, and herbs. Stir in chopped tomatoes.  Continue cooking for a half an hour.  Serves six to eight, generously.

Till next time.

Melkam Megeb.   Bon appetit.    Buen provecho.   Mànmàn chī!  Guten Appetit! Dober tek!    Selamat makan!   Nush olsun!   Svādiṣṭ khānā