LAST WEEK, we got a call from a reader. “You know, I’ve hung on to the issue with that green bean recipe for years,” the reader said. “And I just can’t find it! Can you help?”

Well, yes. Yes, we could. Because we knew exactly what That Green Bean Recipe was, and what issue it was from. See, this reader wasn’t the first reader who’s called a-lookin’ for That Green Bean Recipe (TGBR). In fact, TGBR is probably the thing we’ve gotten the most feedback on in the history of the magazine.

Waaaaay back in 2012, we published a piece called “A Very First Lady Thanksgiving,” in which writer Tammy Keith asked five former first ladies (this was pre-Gov. Hutchinson, obvi) to share a recipe from their own holiday tables. In it? You guessed it: Gay White’s beans. In the spirit of giving, we’re posting that piece again here, so that TGBR can live on—in your bellies.


“One recipe is a green-bean dish that they looove. Every time I serve it, I just always get lots of compliments, and lots of people want to know what the recipe is,” says White. “It’s very easy, but delicious. I make it throughout the year and at Thanksgiving.”


6 cans green beans (whole or cut)

1 onion, chopped

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1 1/4 cups brown sugar

12 strips bacon

1/2 cup bacon fat

Place beans and most of liquid in a 9-by-13-inch pan. Fry bacon and crumble on beans. Chop onion and place on beans. Mix vinegar, brown sugar, and bacon fat and pour over all. Cover and bake at 275 degrees for 6 hours.


“Well, I don’t have a favorite recipe. I’ve always hated cooking,” Bumpers says matter-of-factly. As one of three girls, Bumpers says their mother made them take turns cooking. Bumpers would offer to milk the cow, mow the lawn—anything to get out of cooking. Her sisters were at home in the kitchen. “I was the only one who had a husband come home for lunch for eighteen years. Every day was a crisis,” she says, laughing. Bumpers says she’s made her mother’s cornbread countless times, a well-worn recipe in her mother’s handwriting, but Bumpers knows it by heart.


1 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons shortening or bacon drippings (preferred)

1 1/2 cups milk

1 egg (Beat it soundly, and then beat again. These are my mother’s instructions—that’s the secret.)

Pour into a sizzling hot, greased, black-iron skillet. Bake at 400 to 450 degrees until brown.


“We do have a special recipe that we always try to have for Thanksgiving. It’s really been in our family for over one hundred years,” Pryor says. Her grandfather-in-law was married twice, and she says this recipe for lemon chess pie was handed down by his second wife, whom everyone called Mother Euda. “Susie, David’s mother, thought you needed something tart with every meal. She’s the one who taught us how to make it.” Thanksgiving is memorable for another reason—it’s the Pryors’ wedding anniversary. They exchanged vows fifty-four years ago on Thanksgiving morning in a Methodist church in Fayetteville.


2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon cornmeal

1/4 cup sweet milk

4 eggs

1 tablespoon flour

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup lemon juice

Zest of one lemon

Mix it all together and pour into an unbaked pie shell. The tricky part is that you must “bake as an egg custard until set”—that’s probably about 40 minutes at 350 degrees. The top, because of the lemon zest, will turn a little brown and form a crust.


“Mother’s rolls are a traditional part of our family’s holiday menus.  After the rolls are prepared, the children and/or grandchildren love making yummy cinnamon rolls with the  leftover dough,”  Tucker says. She wouldn’t dare not have the family’s favorite desserts, either: pumpkin pie, blackberry pie, or coconut cake.


3/4 cup Crisco

1 cup boiling water

2 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 cup cold water

2 cakes yeast

1/2 cup lukewarm water

7 1/2 cups sifted flour

1/2 cup melted butter

Combine Crisco and boiling water and stir until the Crisco dissolves. Combine eggs, sugar, and salt and beat together while adding the cold water. Soften the yeast in lukewarm water. Combine the 3 mixtures and the sifted flour. Cover and refrigerate overnight. About 2 hours before baking, roll out on a floured board until the dough is a half-inch thick. Cut in rounds with a 2-inch biscuit cutter. Dip in melted butter and fold in half to make pocketbook rolls. Place in a greased pan and let the rolls rise for 2 hours. Bake in a 425 degree preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes.


“When I think of pecan pie, I remember our family gatherings at Thanksgiving,” says Beebe. “This pie is one of three different kinds that my family insists on serving when we’re together for our holiday meal. This recipe came from my aunt, who got it from one of her friends.”  The other two pies that Beebe’s family requests are chocolate and pumpkin.


1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup Karo

1/4 cup PET Milk

Pinch of salt

3 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 cup pecans, chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix and pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 30 minutes.