Celebrating History & Heritage

An Interview with Lucile Priscilla Hood, Long-time Rehoboth Beach Resident

Vibrant 91-year-old

In the heart of Rehoboth Beach, where the ocean flanks newly erected houses and communities interspersed with lingering farmland, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Lucile, a vibrant 91-year-old resident whose life is intertwined with the evolving culture of this beloved seaside town. Our conversation took place with the backdrop of the recent Juneteenth Celebration in West Rehoboth, a significant event that honors freedom, heritage, and community spirit, particularly in the African American community. Born in Milton, Lucile moved to Rehoboth Beach when she was three years old and spent her childhood summers working to earn money for school.


Lucile’s mother worked for affluent families from Washington, D.C., and other cities who spent summers in Rehoboth Beach. Lucile often lent a hand, accompanying her mother downtown and learning the value of hard work from a young age. By the time she was 13, Lucile was already providing childcare, but the job didn’t pay well. At 14, she worked at a downtown Rehoboth restaurant for a German family. Lucile started washing dishes but quickly realized that cooks earned better pay. She didn’t hesitate to ask if she could cook. When asked if she knew how, she responded, “A little, but I can learn whatever you teach me.” That summer, she trained and worked as a cook, becoming the best-paid 14-year-old girl in town.

Changes amid Cherished Traditions

Reflecting on the changes in Rehoboth Beach, Lucile noted the significant growth and development. “From the bridge to the light where you turn into Rehoboth, there used to be black-family homes and farmland. Now, it’s all built up,” she observed. Despite these changes, Lucile loves her close-knit community and the cherished traditions that have endured. One of Lucile’s traditions is cooking Sunday dinner for her family. Despite her age, she remains independent and continues to cook for herself. Her love for cooking is clear, particularly for her succotash. Blending lima beans, fresh tomatoes, corn, and okra, her succotash is a testament to her culinary heritage. “I always use onions, but not garlic. And if I have celery, I’ll add that too,” she advised. She likes to eat her succotash with pan-fried chicken cooked in a cast iron skillet. 

Juneteenth: Celebration of Shared Heritage

The recent Juneteenth Celebration in West Rehoboth was a testament to this enduring spirit. “It was a wonderful experience,” she said. Lucile was particularly proud of her great-grandson Terrence Vann and his artistic contributions to the West Rehoboth Legacy art wall. “Terrence’s artwork is a beautiful depiction of our history. It’s something that the community can drive by and appreciate daily,” she beamed. As we look to the future, Lucile shares her hopes for the Juneteenth celebrations. She envisions a time when more people will join to honor our collective history and progress. “It’s a time for reflection and unity. I hope it brings more people together to appreciate our shared heritage,” she said. 

Words of Wisdom

Before we ended our interview, I asked Lucile what wisdom she would like to share with younger generations, particularly her great-great-granddaughters Savannah and Violet. Her advice was simple yet profound. “Love, education, and respect for family are paramount,” she advised. Lucile emphasized the importance of staying connected and supportive. “Call your elders, show up, and tell them you love them,” she urged. Lucile’s reflections on her life in Rehoboth Beach were filled with memories and wisdom. Celebrating Juneteenth reminds us that it is important to honor history and the individuals who have shaped our communities. Lucile’s story is a beautiful example of the enduring spirit and unity of Rehoboth Beach, a town that continues to thrive through its strong sense of community and rich heritage.  

Traditional Corn & Tomato Succotash

This dish is inspired by my conversation with MOM MOM Lucile. It is best when prepared in the summer using fresh ingredients.

Ham Bone Stock:

  • 1 ham bone
  • 1000 grams (35.3 oz) water


  • 300 grams (10.6 oz) fresh lima beans
  • 150 grams (5.3 oz) onion, finely chopped
  • 150 grams (5.3 oz) fresh okra, sliced
  • 150 grams (5.3 oz) fresh seasonal tomato, chopped
  • 400 grams (14.1 oz) kernels from 3 large ears of summer corn
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 5 grams (1 teaspoon) salt
  • 12 grams (1 tablespoon) sugar
  • 0.6 grams (1/4 teaspoon) paprika
  • 30 grams (1 oz) butter
  • 10 grams (0.35 oz) fresh parsley, chopped
  • 10 grams (0.35 oz) fresh basil, chopped
  • 10 grams (0.35 oz) fresh chives, chopped
  • 5 grams (0.18 oz) fresh tarragon, chopped


1. Make the Ham Bone Stock:

Place the ham bone in a large pot and cover with 1000 grams (35.3 oz) of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for about 1 hour. Remove the ham bone and set aside. Strain the stock and set it aside.

2. Prepare the Vegetables:

Chop the tomato. Cut the corn kernels from the cob. Chop the onion and green pepper.

3. Cook the Lima Beans:

In a large pot, add the strained ham bone stock and bring it to a simmer. Add the fresh lima beans and cook for about 15 minutes until they are tender.

4. Cook the Pepper and Onion:

In a large skillet, melt 15 grams (0.5 oz) of the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped green pepper and onion, and fry until soft.

5. Prepare the Succotash:

Add the chopped onion and sliced okra to the pot with the lima beans. Cook for another 5 minutes until the onions are translucent, and the okra is tender. Stir in the chopped tomato and summer corn kernels. Cook for 5-7 minutes until all the vegetables are tender. Add the fried pepper and onion to the pot.

6. Season the Dish:

Season the succotash with salt, sugar, and paprika. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

7. Finish the Dish:

Add the remaining 15 grams (0.5 oz) of butter to the pot and stir until it melts and incorporates into the succotash.

Stir in the fresh parsley, basil, chives, and tarragon.

Serve hot, and enjoy!

Chef Hari Cameron is a renowned culinary expert, consultant and restaurateur. He has received critical acclaim for his modern farm-to-table approach to cooking and has been recognized for his numerous contributions to the hospitality industry. With a passion for using the highest quality Mid-Atlantic ingredients, Chef Cameron has become a leading voice in today’s culinary landscape.

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