Serving Green Bean Casserole at Thanksgiving? Dorcas Reilly's Original Recipe Is Still the Best

bhofack2/iStock via Getty Images
bhofack2/iStock via Getty Images

Many of the foods that make up a traditional Thanksgiving dinner have long and complex origin stories. That's not the case with green bean casserole. We know exactly who created the dish and when it first appeared—and the original six-ingredient recipe can still be found on the backs of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup cans today.

Campbell's test kitchen supervisor Dorcas Reilly, who passed away in October 2018 at age 92, made Thanksgiving history when she whipped up the recipe for green bean casserole—originally called The Green Bean Bake—in 1955. Her job involved developing dishes that featured the company's ready-made soup products as star ingredients. Hundreds of her creations were printed on the backs of soup cans, but none had the same level of impact as her vehicle for green beans and condensed mushroom soup.

Reilly's green bean casserole recipe doesn't call for any fancy techniques or hard-to-source ingredients. It consists of one can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup, half a cup of milk, four cups of green beans, a teaspoon of soy sauce, and a dash of black pepper. The components get mixed together in a casserole dish and baked for 25 minutes in a 350°F oven, with half of the fried onions set aside as a topping. Once the remaining onions are sprinkled on top, the casserole goes back in the oven for five minutes until the inside is hot and bubbly and the top is brown and crisp.

The dish was originally conceived as a way to sell Campbell's products, but the fact that it uses prepared, shelf-stable ingredients helped make it a hit. The Associated Press featured it in a 1955 story on Thanksgiving, and home cooks were happy to incorporate the easy recipe into their frantic holiday cooking routines.

Reilly's original casserole is still a cherished part of Thanksgiving dinners today. According to Campbell's, about a third of all Cream of Mushroom Soup cans sold are used to make her "Green Bean Bake." If you don't already have a soup can at home, you can find the recipe on Campbell's website.

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Fried Beer Exists—and We Have Texas to Thank (or Blame) for It

You can have your beer and eat it, too.
You can have your beer and eat it, too.
Kristy, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

For anyone who thinks beer can qualify as a meal, we have some non-scientific evidence to support your claim: it’s shaped like ravioli, it tastes like a soft pretzel, and it’s filled with warm, yeasty deliciousness.

It’s deep-fried beer.

The story behind this culinary triumph began more than 10 years ago at a bar in Texas, where Mark Zable and his wife were scanning another uninspired menu with the same few finger foods. Zable made an offhand comment about how the bar should offer fried beer, and the couple realized it wasn’t such a bad idea—especially for the state fair.

Zable, a corporate recruiter by day, was no stranger to fair fare. As he told NPR, his father had opened a Belgian waffle stand at Texas’s state fair in the 1960s, and Zable himself assumed control after about 30 years. He experimented with new items to enter into the Big Tex Choice Awards food competition—sweet jalapeño corn dog shrimp and chocolate-covered strawberry waffle balls were two of his innovations—but nothing had won him a prize … yet.

Though the concept of fried beer was wacky enough to show real promise, execution proved difficult. Dropping liquid into a deep-fryer is a good way to get splattered with boiling oil, and Zable spent more than two years trying to devise an edible vessel that could both contain the beer and protect the chef. Finally, his 4-year-old son inspired a new angle, and Zable landed on a flawless design. Though Zable’s been tight-lipped on the details of that recipe, the Toronto Star reports that it’s essentially soft pretzel dough pressed into a ravioli-like pocket, filled with Guinness, and plopped into the deep-fryer for 15 to 20 seconds.

“It tastes great,” Zable told NPR. “Tastes just like eating a pretzel with a beer.”

Actual deep-fried beer from the 2010 State Fair of Texas.David Berkowitz, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

At last, Zable’s ambitious creation was ready for its debut at Texas’s 2010 state fair. He faced some tough competition at the Big Tex Choice Awards—including fried frozen margaritas, fried lemonade, and fried club salad—but even the other edible beverages were no match for Zable’s savory fusion of beer and bread. He took home the award for “Most Creative,” while “Texas Fried Fritos Pie” clinched “Best Taste.” Together, they’re a match made in state fair heaven.

[h/t NPR]