Senate Bean Soup – Always on the Menu

Michigan Food - Senate Bean Soup

A Famous Bean Soup from the Thumb is Served Everyday in the United States Senate

The small town of Kinde, Michigan was once renowned as the “Bean Capital of the World“. Michigan white navy bean soup has been a staple for over one hundred years in the U.S. Senate dining room in the form of Senate bean soup. The simple recipe is widely known in the Great Lakes State and over the years home cooks have made all kinds of variations.

U.S. Senate Bean Soup Recipe

U.S. Capital

Find the recipe in our post-Unique Michigan Foods You Have to Try. It’s the ideal comfort food on chilly nights or a thoughtful tailgate treat. Simply made with white canned navy beans, onions,  ham hocks, stock, and a few basic spices. Yum.

U.S. Senate Bean Soup Origins

What Navy Beans

While beans are still a huge agricultural focus in Michigan’s Thumb region, the mighty sugar beet has nudged the venerable white bean from the first place. However, the temperate climate of the Michigan thumb peninsula that is surrounded by Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay will mean that bean growing will remain part of the area’s agricultural economics and social culture for the foreseeable future.

History of the Famous Soup

The following history of Senate Bean Soup was found on an old menu of the U.S. Senate dining room. The true origin as to why the soup is on the menu every day is lost to time. However, it appears that Senators from Idaho and Minnesota were the ones who wanted it on the menu. It’s unknown if any Michigan senator had a role in the ingredients. The current menu of the U.S. Senate Dining Room can be found at the link below.

Senate Michigan Navy Bean Soup History.

Visting the Senate Dining Room

The Senate Dining Room is off-limits to the general public. If you’re visiting the Capital and call on your Senator or their staff you may get invited for a late lunch. The dress code is all business (Wear a suit), and no cameras are allowed. However, the Capital Cafe is open to the public and shares many of the same menu items.

Michigan's Thumb ThumbWind