Green bean casserole
Image credit: lotherington [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

For reasons unknown to me, someone designated December 3 as National Green Bean Casserole Day. This implies that a lot of people enjoy green bean casserole, or at least have deluded themselves into thinking they enjoy it. I find this…curious. Green beans are terrific—at least if they have been prepared in such a way that they still have some actual flavor, texture, and nutrients. Casseroles are great too. But every example of green bean casserole I’ve ever seen has struck me as distinctly unappetizing. If someone said to me, “Here, take these delicious green beans and make them as repulsive as possible,” I imagine I’d come up with something like green bean casserole. For the uninitiated, the basic idea is that you mix cooked (or frozen, or…shudder…canned) green beans with cream of mushroom soup, pour into a casserole dish, top with canned French-fried onions, and bake. If that sounds delightful to you, there’s a chance you’ve been infected by an alien brain-eating virus. Just saying. (If you want to make something that will appeal to me, and to uninfected humans, just roast up some fresh green beans and mushrooms with a bit of olive oil and kosher salt. Yummy.)

This casserole was invented in 1955 by one Dorcas Reilly, who died just recently—on October 15, 2018, at age 92. Her longevity may, of course, have been due to all those green bean casseroles. Or it may have been due to an alien brain-enhancing virus. We may never know.