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Jean Beach's Italian Sausages with Onions and Peppers

From Savoring Saginaw by the Historical Society of Saginaw County.


  • 4 large (about 1lb) Italian sausages

  • 2 med. onions

  • 2 green peppers

  • 1 can spaghetti sauce with mushrooms

  • 4 oz. spaghetti, cooked according to package directions

  • Grated Parmesan

Brown sausages. Cut green peppers in 1 -inch strips and onion chunks. Drain fat from sausage, cut in half if desired. Pour over spaghetti sauce. Add onions and peppers. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until peppers are crisp-tender. Serve over hot spaghetti. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Serves 4.


Jean Rockwell Beach: Artist, Historian, Cookbook Authors and So Much More

“The Culver-Deisler drug store was on the corner of Genesee and Jefferson. When we were in high school, we headed there every afternoon for a Vernors and a cigarette—and hoped that none of our mothers’ friends would happen in. They had a big soda fountain and our favorite meal there was a Boston Cooler and their famous chopped ham sandwich. A few years ago, Gene Rank asked if I knew the secret of those sandwiches. He’d tried all different brands of ham and salad dressings, but they never tasted like Culver’s. I told him that was because the chopped ham was really ground baloney.”

“On our side of the street [Jean Rockwell Beach’s family owned Liebermann Trunk Company, 417 E. Genesee], on the corner of Genesee and Baum, was the Home Dairy. I could write a whole essay on the Home Dairy and the oddball characters who hung out there. Seitners was farther down the street. You may remember their elevator—an open, birdcage sort of thing that was half scary and half fascinating as it made its creaking way to the second floor.”

From Jean Rockwell’s Beach’s Manuscript for talk titled: A Downtown Saginaw Christmas – 1948

Jean Rockwell Beach, the creator of this week’s recipe, coauthored the book Savoring Saginaw with Pat Shek. Celebrating Saginaw’s culinary history, the book was published by the Castle Museum in 2007 and is the inspiration and main source of recipes for our recipe feature.

Jean’s talents were many. She was an artist, author, and was passionate about Saginaw history. Her work – both her artwork and writing – frequently celebrated our community and its people. She loved sharing what she had learned. For those of us fortunate enough to know her, she was our definitive source for information about all things Saginaw.

Jean Beach’s obituary hints at the breath of her work and accomplishments:

Beach, Jean Rockwell, of Old Mission, MI and Saginaw, MI; formerly of Frankenmuth, MI passed away on Saturday, February 2, 2019, with family by her side. She was 89 years young. The daughter of the late Hiel M. Rockwell Sr. and Elizabeth Liebermann Rockwell, Jean was born December 22, 1929, in Saginaw, MI. She attended Saginaw schools and was graduated from Saginaw High School in 1947. She received her BFA from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1951 and continued to be a lifelong learner. In May 1962 she married Glenn M. Beach. Births of daughter Sue, and son Ben added to their existing family of sons Peter (deceased), Matthew, and Jeffrey. Jean was an accomplished writer who was known for her interesting stories of people and places in Saginaw. She has written several books, including "A Century on Canvas" about the art careers of Julia and Henry Roecker, three Saginaw Hall of Fame volumes, and "Undefeated" with Don Steel. Additionally, Beach authored histories of First Congregational Church Saginaw, Pit and Balcony Community Theater, and the Saginaw historical cookbook "Savoring Saginaw" with Patricia Shek, which won the top award in the Saginaw News Critic's Choice in 2007. Unique accomplishments include creating the "Slim Chipley" character for Paramount Potato Chips and starring as "Miss Merryweather" on WNEM Channel 5 in Saginaw. As a recognized artist with exhibits throughout Michigan art museums, Jean was in various shows held at the Saginaw Art Museum, where she was awarded Best of Show in 1998. Her work has also been included in the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in Lansing, and the Scarab Club in Detroit. In 2010 Beach received the All-Area Arts Award from the Saginaw Arts and Enrichment Commission. She was active both on and off-stage at Saginaw's Pit and Balcony and served on its board. Jean gave riveting lectures that were sprinkled with amusing anecdotes on such topics as "The History of Pit and Balcony", "Art in Public Places", and "How Saginaw Got the World's Best Water" among many others. Above all, Jean used her gifted talents to bring joy to many people who have felt it a blessing to know her. Surviving are children Matthew Beach (Nancy) of Shrewsbury, MA, Jeff Beach (Jan) of Camano Island, WA, Sue Godwin (Paul) of McPherson, KS, and Ben Beach (June) of Coppell, TX; grandchildren Kate Sackton (Tim), Jennifer Beach, Megan Campbell (Colton), Alicia Godwin, Lauren Beach, Sydney Beach; and great-grandchildren Isaac and Nathaniel Sackton. Jean was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Glenn M. Beach, her sister Caroline E. DeVries, brother Hiel M. Rockwell Jr., granddaughter Julie Anne Beach, grandson Jason Beach, and grandson Andrew Beach. Friends may visit with the family at the W. L. Case and Company Funeral Chapel, 4480 Mackinaw Rd. on Friday, March 1, 2019 from 4:00-9:00 p.m. Memorial service will take place at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 2, 2019 at First Congregational Church, 403 S Jefferson Ave, Saginaw, MI 48607. Janice E. Thomas, Lay Minister, will officiate. Memorial contributions may be sent to Saginaw Historical Society, the Saginaw Art Museum, Old Mission Congregational Church or the First Congregational Church of Saginaw.

Included in this album of photographs are childhood photographs of Jean with her brother Hiel Rockwell Jr, the Liebermann Store, the introduction from Savoring Saginaw and a scene she created for one of the museum’s fairy doors.

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