Our grandfather, Bassett Arthur was a cook in the Navy Seabees primarily in the Philippines in World War II. After the war he remained a chef and cook at restaurants in Brady and Abilene, Texas.
He just happened to be the great nephew of Charlie Bassett, the legendary first sheriff/marshal of Dodge City. Kansas (The fictional one was more famous: Marshal Matt Dillion of TV’s Gunsmoke).
I was mesmerized as a young boy, having the honor sitting on a red Naugahyde bar stool peering over the counter of the Bell Diner watching his magic.
Like the conductor of a symphony orchestra, Grandpa would twirl, wave, and manipulate his spatulas across his grill and pans like no other.
He left me several of his cook books and handwritten recipes, many I’ve enjoyed over the years. (Check out his Green Beans Salad here.)One of my favorites is his macaroni salad. Here’s my version that I’ve modified to near perfection and have received many compliments for. Enjoy.
One 16-ounce package salad macaroni pasta
1 cup red onion, diced
1 cup yellow or white onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup medium Cheddar, diced
1 cup Swiss cheese, diced
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
1 cup salami, diced or bacon, crumbled
1 cup dill pickles, diced
1 cup diced or sliced black olives
1 tablespoon H-E-B garlic salt
1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to heat preference. I like more, but this is a key secret ingredient).
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1. Add 2 quarts of water to a medium stockpot and bring to a boil. Add macaroni and cook about 9 minutes (or according to package directions. Don’t overcook to prevent it from falling apart when tossing. Rinse until cool. Drain well and let it dry out a little bit.
2. Add pasta to a large bowl. Gently fold in onion, celery, cheeses ,salami (or bacon) dill pickles, and black olives. Refrigerate uncovered, overnight (or at the very least 2 hours).
3. Mix the garlic salt, minced garlic, white pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, dry mustard and celery salt together. Add to salad. Fold in the pimentos. Fold in 1/2 cup of mayonnaise at a time. Refrigerate again for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Raised in San Antonio, Jack Dennis’ early experiences were as a newspaper reporter and private investigator. With a Texas State University bachelor’s degree, Jack studied journalism, education and psychology. He was the founding vice-president of Sigma Delta Chi, the Association of Professional Journalists at the University. Jack has received numerous awards, including Investigative Reporter of the Year from Rocky Mountain Press Association, David Ashworth Community Award, and Leadership in Management.
Some of the people and groups Jack has interviewed include:
Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, George Strait, Roy Orbison, Justin Timberlake, Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins, Jackson Browne, Steve Wariner, Tanya Tucker, Scotty Moore, Fats Domino, Patty Page, Tommy Roe, Emmy Lou Harris, Johnny Rivers, Charly McClain, Kinky Friedman, John McFee, Guy Allison & Patrick Simmons (Doobie Brothers) , Randy Bachman (BTO), Jim Messina, Todd Rundgren, Alvin Lee, Gary Puckett, The Ventures, Freddy Cannon, Augie Meyer, Christopher Cross, Whiskey Myers, Sha Na Na (John “Bowzer” Baumann), Flash Cadillac, Jerry Scheff, John Wilkinson, Darrell McCall, and more.
Politicians & News
George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Lady Bird Johnson, Greg Abbott, Rudolph Giuliani, Larry King, Jack Anderson, Tom Bradley, Connie Mack, and more.
Clint Eastwood, Mike Myers, Taylor Lautner, Cameron Diaz, Jerry Lewis, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, Selena Gomez, Tippi Hedren, James Earl Jones, James Woods, Jim Nabors, Martha Raye, Rosalind Russell, June Lockhart, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Howie Mandel, Meg Ryan, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, James Drury, Melanie Griffith, Nathan Lane, Alan Thicke, Lou Diamond Phillips, Clint Howard, Tony Sirico, Cesar Romero, Michael Berryman, Tracy Scoggins, William Windom, Warren Stevens and more.
Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Wally Schirra, Dave Scott, Gene Cernan, Walt Cunningham, Scott Carpenter, Gene Kranz (NASA Flight Director), Ed Mitchell, Richard Gordon, Bruce McCandless, Vanentina Treshkova (first woman in space, Russia), Alex Leonov (first man to walk in space, Russian), Al Worden, Dee O’Hara (nurse to astronauts) and more.
Sports: Joe Torre, Roger Staubach, Bob Hayes, Billie Jean King, Manuela Maleeva, Drew Pearson, Bob Lilly, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, George Gervin, Tony Parker, Shannon Miller, Cathy Rigby, Bruce Bowen, Wade Boggs, Fernando Valenzuela, Bernie Kosar, Dale Murphy, Jim Abbott, Dick Bartell, Mike Schmidt, Dan Pastorini and more.
May Pang, Bob Eubanks, Vernon Presley, Vester Presley, Charlie Hodge, Joe Esposito, Rick Stanley (Elvis’ step-brother, Harold Lloyd (Elvis’ first cousin), Doyle Brunson, Kara Peller, Hank Meijer, Norman Brinkler, Stanley Marcus, Jerry King, Mac King, Nathan Burton, Zach Anner, Louie Anderson, Owen Benjamin, Steve Byrne and more.
As head of Facilities for a major retailer (H-E-B Food/Drugs) for 20 years, Jack co-founded Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association (PRSM) and was elected President to establish PRSM magazine. Jack is a writer, speaker, golf-concierge and happiness coach. He has researched and studied happiness for over 40 years.
Jack was a prolific writer for Examiner.com, with over 1,900 articles written in six years. His articles and stories have appeared in AXS Entertainment, The ROWDY Country Music, Memphis Flash, and numerous magazines.
He is author of “Miracles of Justice,” a true courtroom drama novel about social injustice and miracles.