Grandma’s Saucy ‘Snap’ Beans

String beans doneWhen I was growing up in Richmond, Virginia, my grandmother always called green beans “snaps,” short for snap beans. That’s a common nickname for string beans, which apparently comes from how the beans are prepared. If you snap each one in half, you can then pull off the tough, fibrous piece that looks like a string. Whatever you call them, this type of beans originated in Peru and traveled around the world from there.

My grandmother always served her snaps boiled and drained, with no sauce – not even butter. In the 1930s, she must have made more effort because she did manage to write down this simple recipe for a sauce. I used chives from my garden in my sauce, which turned brown when heated, but still added their distinctive flavor. Try the sauce on other vegetables, including sugar snap peas or potatoes. The beans taste good at room temperature, so they also make good picnic fare.

Grandma Hanna’s Sauce for String Beans (1930s)
Makes about 1/4 cup sauce

2 tablespoons vegetable oil [I used olive oil]
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives or parsley [I used chives]
Dash Worcestershire sauce

In a small saute pan, combine the oil and lemon juice. Stir in the chives and Worcestershire sauce. Heat over low heat just until it comes to a boil. Pour over hot, cooked green beans and serve.


About heritagerecipebox

I am named after my great-grandmother, who only prepared two dishes, according to anyone who remembers. Somehow I ended up with a cooking gene that I brought with me from Richmond, Virginia to my current home in Boston, Massachusetts. I have worked as a journalist and published three cookbooks plus a memoir and a novel. This blog gives me a chance to share family recipes and other American recipes with a past.
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