Our grandfather, Bassett Arthur was a cook in the Navy Seabees primarily in the Philippines during World War II. After the war he remained a chef and cook at restaurants in Brady and Abilene, Texas.
A trip to Abilene always included an opportunity to watch (and help the best I was capable of as a young boy) him cook.
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. Continuously a favorite, are his green beans. (See his awesome Macaroni Salad here.
Here’s his version–and one our mother modified occasionally for a variation or special event. Enjoy.
Grandpa Arthur’s Green Beans
1/4 lb bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 1/2 lbs fresh green beans
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup roasted red pepper, chopped
1/3 cup sauteed onion, chopped
1/2 tablespoon sauteed garlic, chopped
1 tab of butter
If you don’t have these fresh on hand, you can use 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder instead.
Sautee pepper, onion, garlic in olive oil on medium heat until onion is caramelized.
After the garlic, red peppers and onion are sautéed slightly, add the fresh green beans to the skillet. Place a lid over the skillet and continue to cook until the green beans are a gorgeous green color.
Cook the bacon in a large skillet, on medium, until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels. In same skillet (off stove), add Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, mustard, and Tabasco.
Put skillet on medium-high heat and add green beans, tossing with tongs, for about 6 minutes. Stir in red peppers, onion, garlic, butter and half of the bacon, for about a minute. Top with the rest of the bacon.
Mama’s Special Variation
On occasion, our mother would enhance it with her variation. She would add chicken broth and black pepper and turn the heat down with a lid on the pan to allow the steam to escape.
Cook for 20 – 30 minutes or until the chicken broth evaporates and the beans are fairly soft.
More chicken broth can be added if necessary to cook them longer. It’s okay to let the broth cook away so the onions and peppers caramelize even more.
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.