Wednesday, January 12, 2011
The Glory of Green Bean Casserole
Yeah, I know everyone is thinking "I already know how to make this!" and "Didn't we already eat Green Bean Casserole over the holidays? She's kinda late on this post, isn't she???" But one of my favorite foods ever is Green Bean Casserole, and I ate it for dinner -- not with dinner, but for dinner -- recently. And so, I had to honor the lowly dish because we all know we adore it!
My mother never made it, so I'm a latecomer to its charms. But I have actually been known to make a batch of it all for myself, since Jeremy has never liked it (gasp!), just so I could have portions of it to take to work each day to treat myself for lunch.
I consider this to be one of the glories of the White Trash culinary world, like fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches. There is nothing glamorous or nutritious about it, and it has no sophistication whatsoever. And yet, it is a thing of true beauty.
Now, I have to clarify that I say "White Trash" with great affection here -- I am not willfully insulting any group of people; in fact, I'm heralding the cuisine! I've tried to improve the health quotient of Green Bean Casserole by using fresh green beans and even soy-based mushroom soup. And I am here to attest that these are not acceptable substitutions! You lose the creaminess, the saltiness, the "je ne sais quoi" that is inherent to Green Bean Casserole if you tinker with it. Do the "dump 'n' stir"! Watch that soup come out of the can in a gigantic glop! Feel the grease of those canned onions! And wallow in comfort food extraordinaire!!!
The history of Green Bean Casserole is very simple: it was created in the Home Ec division of the Campbell's Soup Company. And we all know it sells lots of green beans, condensed soup and fried onions at the holidays! But it's also a perfect meal for a cold Winter evening, served as the main attraction with simple cornbread muffins on the side.
I don't think a recipe is required for this -- God knows it's easy enough to find 1000 posts about it in any search engine. But I add a generous splash of Worcestshire sauce to the mushroom soup, and I use the entire large can of fried onions -- mix some in with the green beans, then use the rest to cover the top of the dish. If you're going to go slumming, go for the gusto!!!
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