Green Bean Casserole for the Super Bowl

Twice today, I came across blog posts dissing that timeless American holiday classic, the green bean casserole. One person called it “an abomination” and another gave it a big, fat NOPE. Bolded and italicized, just like that.

Oh, the humanity!

Clearly, these naysayers and I disagree on the definition of haute cuisine (a French phrase meaning “good grub.” Loosely translated, of course.) I knew I was fighting an uphill battle when I endorsed the candy corn bratwurst last month but figured something like the green bean casserole was a surefire crowd pleaser.

Apparently not.

Dorcas Reilly (1926 – 2018) would roll over in her grave. She was a chef and inventor who worked in the Campbell’s Test Kitchen creating new recipes. Dorcas came up with hundreds of recipes during her tenure but is best known for the green bean casserole. Originally called “Green Bean Bake,” this delectable dish was invented in 1955. The mixture of canned green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and French fried onions wasn’t an immediate hit, but thanks to Dorcas’s persistence, it eventually caught on. Today, it’s one of the most popular Thanksgiving side dishes. In fact, Campbell’s Soup Company estimates that 40% of all cream of mushroom soup sold in the U.S. is used to make the green bean casserole. The original recipe card was donated to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio. Not a bad legacy for an unassuming woman from Camden, New Jersey.

I guess it’s another dish you either love or hate. Tara is not a fan but I am. My mom never makes it, my dad loves it.

I actually haven’t made green bean casserole in years, but it will be gracing our holiday table come Thursday. I’ve declared this a “Back to Basics” Thanksgiving and will be making a bunch of old favorites that haven’t seen the light of day since before we moved.

Up until 2018, Thanksgiving belonged to MarTar. We hosted every year, even if that meant cramming a dozen family members into a tiny third-floor apartment and busting out TV trays to accommodate everybody. It may have been a tight fit, but there was always plenty of food, and a wide variety of it. When you’re cooking for that many guests you can afford to set out five or six side dishes. But once we moved to South Dakota and it was suddenly just the two of us for Thanksgiving, we scaled back. Meaning some of our favorites fell by the wayside.

Our game plan for 2021 looks quite a bit different.

Green bean casserole is rejoining the starting lineup for the first time since 2018. With a crunchy topping and creamy middle, GBC is a well-rounded player who will complement creamed corn in the backfield. Together, they’re a dual threat for the offense, giving the coaching staff multiple options.

In a surprise move, we acquired a newcomer this season, a sausage/pear/sage stuffing. He’s the younger brother of the sausage/apple/sage stuffing that excited fans for many years in the early 2000s. A coaching change when Tara transferred from Nevada in 2012 spelled the beginning of the end for this hardworking player, who saw his role dwindle when the team went in a new boxed direction. After transitioning to a stove top defense, he retired in 2015. While they share the same DNA, the pear’s softer texture and more aromatic flavor promise a bold change to the lineup that could prove to be a difference-maker. Mashed potatoes were traded to make room for the stuffing. After an un-a-peeling performance that added little excitement to the table in 2020, they were deemed expendable.

Perhaps the biggest move involved letting go of our MVP, the pumpkin cobbler. This undrafted walk-on was a hot addition to the team in 2015 following a dazzling performance at a work potluck and won Rookie of the Year honors. Whenever the game was on the line and you thought you couldn’t possibly eat one more bite, PC proved you wrong, nimbly forcing his way into the end zone. But pumpkin pie is a Hall of Fame dessert, a true legend that can score points without even trying. We’re betting he’s the missing piece that will make this meal a championship contender.

I don’t know what the oddsmakers in Vegas are saying, but I can guarantee some super bowls (and plates) come Thursday!



Categories: Food

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25 replies

  1. First, there’s a National Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio? News to me.

    Second, thanks for linking to my post.

    And third, best line of the day: “Mashed potatoes were traded to make room for the stuffing.” This post is brilliant, even if it was written by a green bean casserole aficionado!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never had green bean casserole and will henceforth hop off to the store to get the freshest ingredients (not the canned slop) and make it from scratch. 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    • Here’s the funny thing, and I almost mentioned it: there are a lot of recipes for fancier versions of the GBC using fresh ingredients, but really, simple is best in my opinion. Normally fresh green beans are far superior, but in this case, the canned ones are great. Go figure!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I hope the team comes through for you Mark. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sadly, that Hall of Fame in Akron is now a STEM school. But back in the day, it was a great place to take the kids because of the hands on exhibits and the make your own invention room. I think all the exhibits, like the recipe, moved to the DC metro area.

    Hope you have a great holiday!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s bad enough you embrace the green bean slop… but creamed corn as well! Are you cooking for an old folks home who’be lost their dentures? And no mashed potatoes? Good God man! Where will you put the gravy?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. An open letter to Mar of MarTar, GM of Thanksgiving, on their recent team shakeups:

    Green bean casserole was an awful acquisition, one you will live to regret. That slop has no speed–are you hoping the color will serve as camouflage and the opposition will simply run into it and get bogged down?!

    You traded potatoes for stuffing. Unbelievable. Good God, man, that means you’ve rendered gravy damned near useless.

    And pumpkin pie? It has no spark, no fire, no taste! You traded a gifted youngster for a washed-up has been.

    Green bean casserole alone would make you the Green Bay Packers of the 1998 Super Bowl–except you’ll never make it the the Playoffs with the rest of that lineup.

    Your days as General Manager of Thanksgiving are surely numbered.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for referencing the 1998 Super Bowl. That one brought literal tears of joy to my eyes when my beloved Broncos finally won!!

      We picked the pumpkin pie up from a local restaurant, and I gotta say, it looks amazing. I don’t think you realize how much I’ve missed pumpkin pie; I haven’t had it in years!

      As for the potatoes, well…Tara won’t eat them. It’s not really worth the effort with so much other good food on the table.

      Like

      • As the person who won’t eat onions, I send solidarity to Tara and agree that the potatoes must go.

        RE: Pumpkin pie. I haven’t had graham crackers in years and I don’t miss them. I don’t even think about them. 🙂

        I knew you would appreciate the Broncos reference. That was probably my most favorite Super Bowl as well.

        Like

  7. First of all, did you miss my last post?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I really like green bean casserole. It should be a year-round staple. I wonder if I can make some tomorrow, even though it’s just our small family, and I’m not sure who all will eat it with him. Hmm. Your stuffing sounds amazing, and I’ve never heard of pumpkin cobbler! Now I must try it!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Methinks Rivergirl was one of those bloggers dissing GBC – am I right? I’m with you. It’s good, though we do the more “natural,” non-Campbells version. In fact, I expect to be eating it within the hour. (Ooh, wait. The husband just said the holiday meal will be ready within minutes!) I must say, though, that eschewing mashed potatoes (especially for stuffing, or “wet bread,” as I like to call it) is BLASPHEMY! In the spirit of Thanksgiving, though, I’ll overlook it. 😉

    Happy Turkey Day to you and yours!

    Like

  10. “Mashed potatoes were traded to make room for the stuffing.” — Hahahaha! What a great post!

    I love green bean casserole….the original one as well as variations. I ran out of time and energy to make it for Thanksgiving dinner but plan on it some time this Thanksgiving weekend. I found a recipe that makes just enough for two people BUT it uses fresh or frozen green beans. I’m going to try it with frozen. It’s all about the creamy soup & the crunchy onions anyway. lol

    Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

    Like

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