Green Bean Casserole Creator Dorcas Reilly Dead at 92
Our taste buds are forever thankful for Dorcas Reilly, who passed away on October 15 at the age of 92. Those who don’t immediately recognize her name have certainly enjoyed her claim to fame, considering 30 million people serve it to their friends and families every November. While working as a home economics expert for the Campbell Soup Co., Reilly invented the green bean casserole, one of the most iconic Thanksgiving side dishes known to man.
“For those who had the privilege of knowing Dorcas, we greatly admired her humble and unassuming nature,” a spokesperson for Campbell’s said in a statement. “Dorcas would often share that the first time she made her famous recipe, it did not receive the highest rating in Campbell’s internal testing. Yet, it was her persistence and creativity that led to an enduring recipe that will live on for decades to come.”
In 1955, The Associated Press called Campbell’s looking for recipes built around two items most Americans always had in their homes: green beans and Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup. Reilly, who worked in the Campbell’s test kitchen, was tasked with creating the perfect recipe. According to NPR, the New Jersey native settled on a “Green Bean Bake,” featuring canned green beans, cream of mushroom soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper and French fried onions — all of which takes 10 minutes to prep and 30 to bake.
The delicious dish — better known now as green bean casserole, and sometimes even as “the mother of all comfort foods” — was an instant hit once it was published, so Campbell’s began printing it on cream of mushroom soup cans in 1960. In 2002, Reilly donated her original recipe card to the National Inventors Hall of Fame, where it will forever be cemented in food history as one of the best Thanksgiving side dishes of all time.