Petrana’s Meatless Pinto Beans
(The Copper Hills variant is this recipe plus the stuff at the bottom!)
Petrana was my Dad’s mother. She came to the U.S. in 1901 — through Ellis Island. When she and her husband, Elia, landed, they were met by a man that spoke Montenegrin and he gave them tickets to go to Montana where a job was waiting for them. For the entire time on the train, they only ate ham and eggs, because that was the only thing that Elia could speak in English.
Elia worked in the mines around Helena for a few years until 1908, when he heard about a large masonry dam being built in Arizona. Elia was a trained stone mason, and he moved to Miami, Arizona to work on Roosevelt Dam. When the dam was finished, he settled in Miami and began working at the Miamii Copper Company as a Blacksmith. He built up enough money to purchase a boarding house where Petrana fed her family of four children plus boarders, and Elia worked in the mines and distilled Loza Rokeya, which is basically grappa, a family recipe that is still made on our family farm back in Spuz, Montenegro, to this day. Continue reading