1lb dried white beans (Great Northern or navy)
 water to soak
 1 meaty ham bone or 2 smoked ham hocks
 3 qts. water, to cook
 3 medium onions, chopped fine
 3 cloves garlic, minced
 3 stalks celery, chopped fine
 1/4 c. parsley, chopped fine
 1 c. cooked mashed potatoes or 1/3 c. instant potato flakes
 salt to taste (I found this unnecessary)
 1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
 snippets of parsley or chives to garnish (optional)
 Rinse and sort beans, and soak overnight  in water to cover.  Drain 
 beans and place in 5qt. soup kettle with the ham bones.  Add 3qts. 
 COLD water.  Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer over low heat 
 for 2 hours.  Skim if necessary.  In the meantime, chop onions, 
 garlic, celery and parsley.  When beans and meat have cooked 2 
 hours, add chopped vegetables and potato to the pot.
 Simmer 1 hour longer, or until beans are tender.  Season with salt and pepper.
 Remove bones and meat from soup.  Die meat into 1/2-inch pieces and 
 return to pot.  Discard bones.  Reheat soup to serve.  Garnish with parsley
  or chives.