One hot summer day in 1904, Speaker of the House Joe Cannon of Illinois visited the House dining room and asked for a bowl of bean soup. He was told that, in view of the sultry weather, it had been omitted from the menu.
“Thunderation!” Cannon roared. “I had my mouth set for bean soup! From now on, hot or cold, rain, snow, or shine, I want it on the menu every day.”
And so it has been, ever since. The recipe was published on the menu in 1955:
2 lb. No. 1 white Michigan beans.
Cover with water and soak overnight.
Drain and re-cover with water.
Add a smoked ham hock and simmer slowly for about 4 hours until beans are cooked tender. Then add salt and pepper to suit taste.
Just before serving, bruise beans with large spoon ladle, enough to cloud. (Serves about six persons)