Tita’s Red Beans

Our dear friend Tita gave us the recipe for these red beans. Every Sunday since COVID quarantine began, Tita has joined us on our front porch, 10 feet away. Outside, with masks on, we talk about the state of the world. She and I always talk about food.

Tita’s husband had a mother who grew up in Mississippi. And every single Monday, she made red beans and rice for her kids. Tita’s husband John — also our friend — missed those red beans and rice on Mondays. Tita has tried every recipe she could find. John enjoyed them but they were never quite right.

Tita? She’s determined. One afternoon a few months ago, she was talking with her friend from childhood, Harmony. Harmony’s family grew up in Louisiana, right on the border of Mississippi. And her mother’s housekeeper made the most delicious rice and beans Harmony had ever eaten. “They’re a little labor intensive,” Tita told us. “But worth it.”

I wish we knew the name of that family’s housekeeper. I wish I had a cookbook full of her recipes, so I could honor her. Sadly, because she was Black, she didn’t get the credit. But we salute you. Because these red beans are the creamiest and most flavorful I have ever eaten. John agrees. The first time he ate the beans made with this method, he looked at Tita and said, “These. These are the red beans I ate when I was a kid.”

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