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The History of Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole is a Thanksgiving classic, but do you know the history behind this iconic holiday dish? Green bean casserole was invented by a woman named Dorcas Reilly. In 1955, she was working as a supervisor at the home economics department of a Campbell’s test kitchen in Camden, New Jersey. She was asked to create a recipe for a feature in the Associated Press; it needed to be based on accessible ingredients like Campbell’s mushroom soup and green beans. She and her team created a recipe consisting of just six ingredients: a can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper, green beans, and crunchy fried onions. The recipe epitomized the postwar convenience food culture and took full advantage of the wide availability of canned goods, which were finally free from ration restrictions. It was originally called “Green Bean Bake” and took off in earnest when Campbell’s began printing the recipe on its cans of mushroom soup. Today, Reilly’s recipe endures – 40 percent of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup sales go towards making the dish, and Reilly’s original hand-written recipe card is now in the archives of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

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