Last week, America lost one of her great innovators, Dorcas Reilly. She was not famous, but her invention is.
That invention? Green bean casserole. A holiday staple in many households throughout the country and a food which is distinctly American in origin.
She created it while working at Campbell’s soup, and the company was greatly appreciative. They provided a memorial on their website.
As one of the first full-time members of Campbell’s Home Economics department, Dorcas created “the mother of all comfort foods” by simply combining two things most Americans had on hand in 1955: green beans and Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. Originally called “Green Bean Bake,” Campbell’s Green Bean Casserole requires only a short list of ingredients (just five), doesn’t take much time to prepare (only 10 minutes) and can be customized to please many different taste preferences.
Campbell Soup Company
Dorcas left Campbell in 1961 to be a full-time mom but returned in 1981 to serve as manager of the Campbell’s Kitchen, a position she held until her retirement in 1988.
Anyone wishing to see the original card on which she devised the recipe can… it’s on display at the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
That hasn’t stopped people from trying to modernize the recipe. The original is still out there, though, going strong even as its creator passed away at age 92. From all accounts, she seemed quite pleased that the recipe had such popularity and staying power.
Question of the night: What’s a recipe you made up, that you enjoy?