A Remembrance from Doc Lawrence: I was given this recipe by one of my heroes (some of my other heroes are Joan of Arc, Mark Twain, Johnny Cash and Julia Child), Jim Sanders. Sanders, wounded five times as a foot soldier in World War II, went to France in 1948, bought a bicycle and toured the countryside, learning the language, the food and all about wines. When he returned to his Atlanta home, he was a French trained chef and had his own wines from France headed to Atlanta where he opened up the first fine wine retail shops in the Deep South and became a remarkable restaurateur and graduate school level wine educator with his classes in the back of his store.

I was lucky enough to be one of his students and all I love beyond my family is owed to him. Jim served food in the same room in his store daily, calling it “Poor Jim’s soup kitchen.” Customers would stop in and eat a full course meal, drink his wines and share stories. Everything, of course, was at no charge.

Jim died in 1999 and ironically is buried close to my mother and brother. I stop by on special occasions to lay flowers and walk over to Jim’s grave, noticing that others had visited, perhaps bring along a chair and opened up a bottle or two, sharing some stories. (Jim’s trademark JSANDERS was on every cork of the 180 different French wines he imported.) This is one of my favorite recipes and Sanders served it once each week:


  • 1 lb. raw beef pieces
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • ½ cup chopped carrots
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 24 oz. tomato juice
  • 1 pt. beef stock
  • 2 oz. butter
  • 2 oz. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 oz. medium Sherry
  • 1 tsp. Allspice
  • 1 tsp. white pepper
  • Salt to taste.

In a soup pot, melt the butter. Add the beef pieces and vegetables and braise until the beef is browned. Add the tomato juice, beef stock and spices and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir in the cheese and Sherry, but do not boil.

Jim Sanders’ young manager was Stephen Thomason who was 21 at the time Sanders died. I asked Stephen which wines were served with this soup. “Our Coates-du-Rhone,” he recalled, “was nearly perfect, loaded with pepper and spices and the customers loved it. Other choices were Beaujolais-Villages, and even a Gervey-Chambertin.” White wines? “Not really,” says Thomason. “This is a hearty soup that will overpower even many heavier white wines.”

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