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Green Bean Casserole

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...............now you come along Sandy with this topic....................  and now I feel myself going over the edge.....................  now I actually want to MAKE this for Christmas!  Normally, it would be collards, or mixed greens, or old school green beans, and in addition to those, peas and carrots.  But thanks to you I'll have to go out and buy frozen green beans, canned fried onions, Campbell's Mushroom Soup and whatever the Hell else goes in this casserole!  Damn you, man, damn you! :angry::rolleyes:

Ohmigod, no! NOOOOOOOO!

Gimme your hand right now!

Let me pull you back from the brink!

Now go lie down while the urge passes. I'll whip up some macaroni and cheese for you; that should make you feel better.

What's next brotha': telling everybody Black folks' secret handshake? :biggrin:

I'd rather die first.

Or even eat Green Bean Casserole.


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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White Newfoundlanders on one side, white Mainers on the other, and I had never even heard of the thing until I started reading about food in college. This is not to say that there aren't family equivalents that would horrify you, Sandy. :blink:


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I'll weigh in on the side of I'm-white-but-my-family-doesn't-eat-this-stuff.  That doesn't mean we're eating excellent food.  My family just has other  stuff that shows up on holiday tables. 

But all of this makes me go "Uh-ohhhh" in the back of my mind.  Tell me about tuna casserole.  The kind with noodles, cream of something* soup, a drained can of tuna, crumbled crackers on the top, and shredded cheddar on top of the top.  Is that a white thing, too?  And if so, how white is it?  I mean, is it more ubiquitous than the green bean casserole?

*My family's official canned soup for tuna casserole was cream of mushroom.  My college roommate's family's official canned soup for tuna casserole was cream of celery.  After much argument, we decided to alternate.  Unless we were broke, when we used whatever we had or could borrow.

Edited to say:  The "company" (i.e. fancy) version of tuna casserole also had canned peas in it.

It is, officially, "Tuna Noodle Casserole" and those are "Rolly Peas" to you bub!

Awright, awright, awright. This was a staple in my home, and yes my children were fed this dish when pay day's were tight. They actually request it!

I think this is probably more of a great white secret than the green bean thing.

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My sister tried canned soup once and she tells me that it is so salty that it made her puke. I can't IMAGINE what the combination of canned tuna(pretty salty) AND canned soup would taste like! The green bean thing sounds more edible, I think. Unless it is made with canned beans? I've been assuming that it's made with frozen, I mean, I just never knew anyone who bought their green beans canned...


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What's next brotha': telling everybody Black folks' secret handshake? :biggrin:

You mean the knuckle-on-knuckle high-five? Too late. Thurston, Lance and I all practice it after Sunday shuffleboard.

But green bean casserole? Now THAT'S a well-kept secret within Caucasiandom. I asked my black co-worker Freddy if he had ever heard of this dish. "Green bean casserole? What's that?" he blurted. Then a wave of comprehension came over him and he added, "Wait...I just heard about it on a TV commercial the other day." He didn't seem too eager to try it.

Of course, Freddy also calls bagels & lox "Jewish soul food," so he's not exactly phobic toward different cuisines. Maybe we could create a new cuisine to house the curious casserole and other Caucasian cooking: White Soul Food!


There are two sides to every story and one side to a Möbius band.

borschtbelt.blogspot.com

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I am a lover of the green bean casserole. Although these days I make it with a higher quality mushroom soup, fresh or frozen green beans, and add a little hit of sherry and cream, (I don't put bacon in mine either) I still use the Durkee onions :rolleyes:

However, it's not something I make when I want to have a serious dinner party. It is something I make when we have our annual Big Ass Ham Fest, which typically inspires white-trash comfort food. :smile:


Born Free, Now Expensive

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But all of this makes me go "Uh-ohhhh" in the back of my mind.  Tell me about tuna casserole.  The kind with noodles, cream of something* soup, a drained can of tuna, crumbled crackers on the top, and shredded cheddar on top of the top.  Is that a white thing, too?  And if so, how white is it?  I mean, is it more ubiquitous than the green bean casserole?

Now I don't have the data to say whether it's an *exclusively* white thing. But given that tuna noodle hot dish, to give it its proper Minnesotan name, has been the butt of many jokes on "Prairie Home Companion," including a whole ballad that Keillor sang as a duet with Jean Redpath many moons ago, I'd say that dish does have some pretty sturdy roots in a notably pale-complected community. :biggrin:

I think it has something to do with one of the key ingredients being Cream of Lutheran Soup?

SB (Lutherans are notoriously palid) :shock:

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Just the mere mention of it makes me shudder with Fargo flashbacks. It was always a part of our infamous (and largely indigestable) holiday meals along with neon red apples, potatoes au gratin and alternately overcooked or raw turkey! :laugh:

Kate

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...............now you come along Sandy with this topic....................  and now I feel myself going over the edge.....................  now I actually want to MAKE this for Christmas!  Normally, it would be collards, or mixed greens, or old school green beans, and in addition to those, peas and carrots.  But thanks to you I'll have to go out and buy frozen green beans, canned fried onions, Campbell's Mushroom Soup and whatever the Hell else goes in this casserole!   Damn you, man, damn you! :angry::rolleyes:

Ohmigod, no! NOOOOOOOO!

Gimme your hand right now!

Let me pull you back from the brink!

Now go lie down while the urge passes. I'll whip up some macaroni and cheese for you; that should make you feel better.

What's next brotha': telling everybody Black folks' secret handshake? :biggrin:

I'd rather die first.

Or even eat Green Bean Casserole.

Feeling weaker..... must hang on, must find antidote. Maybe these will work: grape KoolAid (with lemon), fried bologna/baloney "sammich," perhaps a few "skrimp," fried okra, hoppin' john, hot wings with "mambo" sauce .......................... DAMMIT nothing's working! :shock: Still want to make that damn casserole................... Wait a minute, where's that Colt 45? :blink:


Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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I am beginning to think that I am the only po' half white trash here! I grew up between California and South Carolina with a Northern Californian dad, and a southern Californian Mom, a midwestern (Nebraska) step mom and a step dad from West Virginia, it was on all thier tables and now I run a pseudo-restaurant and EVERYBODY (white, black, brown, and yellow) all know what it is and expect, nay, DEMAND that it be served at both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I tried to mess with recipe and make it more "foodie friendly" and was almost drummed out. I enjoy it for what it is, don't eat it much, and don't really miss it when it isnt there, but I find it hard to believe that so many people on here have neither heard of it, nor actually eaten it.

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This topic is yet another demonstration of why I enjoy eGullet. Where else can you get such entertaining forays into cultural anthropology? :smile:

I'm wondering if exposure to the wonders of green bean casserole (or tuna noodle casserole, for that matter) had something to do with the cultural image of a certain time period as well as certain demographic groups. I remember leafing through those Better Homes and Gardens and Good Housekeeping Cookbooks of my mom's, from which she learned to make such concoctions. She acquired the books in the late 1950s/early 1960s timeframe, when the family made the big move to suburbia, and boy did they ever reflect the times! They had all these unrealistically cutesy home entertainment suggestions, like doing little theme parties with tchatchked-up desserts and molded salads and the whole nine yards. Stuff like Goal-Post Cupcakes for the Superbowl party--even as a kid I could see that going over like a lead balloon! Where's the goddam beer?!? :laugh: Okay, I made the cupcakes up, but that kind of thing really was typical of the stuff in those books. They seemed to be trying to spin a whole fantasy of Ozzy and Harriet suburban tract-house bliss, with Mom cooking a whole galaxy of convenience-food based creations while wearing pearls and a cute little half-apron over her Jackie K-style sheath dress. Very mid-20th-century.

Or are these just my own personal mental associations with these kinds of casseroles? Throwing it out for further consideration...

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This topic is yet another demonstration of why I enjoy eGullet. Where else can you get such entertaining forays into cultural anthropology? :smile:

Speaking of forays, mizducky please don't get me or Sandy started on sweet potato pie vs. pumpkin pie! :biggrin:


Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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This topic is yet another demonstration of why I enjoy eGullet. Where else can you get such entertaining forays into cultural anthropology? :smile:

Speaking of forays, mizducky please don't get me or Sandy started on sweet potato pie vs. pumpkin pie! :biggrin:

Heh. Too tempting. I've had both, and I think sweet potato pie has a definite edge over the pumpkin. Although that may have more than a little to do with the way my mom made pumpkin pie, again following Good Housekeeping/Better Homes, using canned pumpkin and frozen store-bought piecrusts. :rolleyes:

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OK, now you've gone and done it. I'm going to be outed for having not green bean casserole, but one which may result in even bigger shudders from eG'ers.

My family vegetable casserole for Thanksgiving and Christmas is made from canned asparagus and cheese whiz, topped with buttered crumbs. (To me, canned asparagus is a totally different vegetable than fresh asparagus and therefore ineligible for taste comparisons.) I love this stuff. I make it several times a year and put it in individual casseroles. One of those is a complete lunch or dinner for me.

My ex MIL made the green bean casserole. It was bad, not for the soup and the canned onions but for her home frozen green beans. She was always saying, "I don't have to blanch, just put them in the freezer." Well, the reason for the blanching is to destroy a particular little enzyme, which if you leave the beans unblanched, will change their texture to permanent leather and their taste to something nasty. Which they were. For over 30 years.

My daughter makes hers with sauce mornay and buttered crumbs, but she WILL use those damn canned green beans. The grandchildren have to have it, but unless I make my own with said sauce and crumbs and fresh or frozen (cooked) green beans, I don't eat it.

You just might find some Jell-O on the table, too.


Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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Clue me in, please.  I know there are white folks reading this.

:biggrin::laugh:

I can't believe you started this thread. I saw that commercial for the first time this evening, and it brought the same thoughts to my head. Who eats green bean casserole anyway, says I to myself. And what is it? For the record, I'm white white white. But I'm also Jewish, kosher, eastern european father, the works. I never even heard of casserole until I went away to college (upstate new york.) I'm telling you not a single person in my neighborhood where I grew up (the Bronx) ever ever ate that stuff.

I think it's a clever Campbell's marketing ploy. Tell people that they've always loved it, and it's time to have it again, and people will believe this to be true.

But the real truth is: towards the end of this summer, I discovered string beans. Real string beans, that is. We never ate them when I was growing up, except sometimes for a "luxurious treat" my mother would buy canned string beans (read: when it was on sale.) I always thought, literally until this summer, that all string beans tasted like canned string beans, and I could never bring myself to buy them or cook them or even look at them. But anyway, now that I am in love with real string beans, I do think that a string bean casserole -- with real ingredients, screw Campbell's -- might not be too bad. :blink:

So, maybe string bean caserole can be the next cookoff? :raz:

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As a native California kid growing up in a Chinese family, I remember eating green bean casserole during the holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas). I loved it, especially the French-fried onions!

Now, as for tuna casserole: NO!! :angry:

Green Bean Casserole is not, at least in my experience, for everybody-then again, as you say, the only people that I know who eat it are kind of, well, lilly white.

Mayhaw Man, does that mean that I might be ... :shock::shock::shock:

:raz:


Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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OK, that's it. I've looked up this phenomenon known as a green bean casserole on the 'net, but I cannot force myself to cook it. It sounds salty and fatty and mushy, and I prefer my salty fatty mush to be cheese grits or baked macaroni and cheese sauce, or even mashed potatoes, but not green beans. However, I DO have periodic access to a real white lady of a certain vintage, and I'm going to ask her about this green bean casserole, and if she knows of it, I'll be a guest at the table for the next appearance. She has, after all, exposed me to canned 'sweet potato casserole with marshmallows', which was, albeit, not great, definitely edible in small doses. Certainly, not dying to try THIS particular oddity, I've got to say. I have a feeling it is of the same ilk as Spam. Interesting to learn about but glad to avoid. Huh. Now, I find it ODD that some people have never had tomato sauce from scratch, or bread, or salad dressing, mayonnaise, or even pancakes, but that's MY corner of the world, you know?


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I must say, Sandy, you've brought up a great subject with one of the best posts I've seen on e-g. Moreover you've brought up a subject that has led to some deep soul (food) searching questions.

My wife is mid-western white and she grew up on green bean casserole as a family staple. Not only at every holiday without fail but every pot-luck as well and at home on a regular basis. My father was first generation here, Swedish, very white, turn of the last century with no green bean casserole in sight. My mother's side though was deeply rooted in the south from the late 1600's. I don't have much memory of the green bean casserole (which was at holiday family get togehers) as a child as I didn't like green beans then, though now they are a favorite. Last year, at my wifes request I did make a green bean casserole. French's canned fried onions and the works. It was fine, but I haven't fixed it since.

Now, as I plan this years Christmas dinner, with no green bean casserole on my menu I'm forced to look in the mirror and ask 'what's happened to my whiteness?' Has my Berkeley upbringing turned me away from my heritage of white trash cooking? This can't be totally true, as after all I love mayonaise. I like Mac'n cheese as well. But then again I think to myself, when was the last time I had tuna noodle casserole? I can't remember. Correct me if I'm wrong though, but I think now that tuna noodle casserole is acceptable as non-white trash cooking providing you don't put the crushed potato chips on top.

I'm curious, cetainly green bean casserole heads the list of white food, probably with tuna noodle casserole and mayonaise close behind. Are there any others? What have I been missing? Have I been eating white food without knowing it? So many questions, and by the way, shouldn't we be reffered to as cauc-non-asian? So much confusion.

Happy Holidays to all!


Charles a food and wine addict - "Just as magic can be black or white, so can addictions be good, bad or neither. As long as a habit enslaves it makes the grade, it need not be sinful as well." - Victor Mollo

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As a native California kid growing up in a Chinese family, I remember eating green bean casserole during the holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas). I loved it, especially the French-fried onions!

Now, as for tuna casserole: NO!!  :angry:

Green Bean Casserole is not, at least in my experience, for everybody-then again, as you say, the only people that I know who eat it are kind of, well, lilly white.

Mayhaw Man, does that mean that I might be ... :shock::shock::shock:

:raz:

Hey, I could've posted that! (Except for me--- Washington,DC and Indonesian)

Don't exactly remember when we started including it in our holiday menus, but it seems we've always had G B C!

So, does that make me ......., too?


Yetty CintaS

I am spaghetttti

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I've always thought that you had to eat presliced bologna sandwiches, with commercially bottled mayonnaise, on bread from a supermarket package, to be that certain kind of white. Nobody in my family passes this test, but I still think that this is the benchmark. Still, maybe that's a regional thing, and there is NO definitive food of whiteness? :laugh::laugh:


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Sandy, thank you for starting this thread & everyone who responded. It's been a great read to start my morning. :laugh:

When I was at my mom's for Thanksgiving this year we saw that commercial and I shyly asked my mom, "Does anyone actually eat that stuff?" To which she replied, "Only white-bread people, sweetie." :raz: Anyway, definitely not white here, and have never been in a 25 foot radius of the thing. I have my suspicions, however, that some of my mother's new neighbors had it for Thanksgiving (recent transplant to Maine).

Mr. gini, on the other hand, is the whitest shade of pale I have ever seen in my life. And when I asked him this question, he responded, "I love it." Must have something to do with his being from the upper valley in VT. His grandmother used to make it and I feel like he's putting fuzzy-memory-frames around his childhood with her. Au contraire, he assures me: "She made it cause it was cheap and she grew up during the depression. So she continued to eat that way. Another thing I learned to do was bake trout from the river in milk, and eat it with thousand island dressing. How horrible is that? :sad: But i am trying to remedy my WHITENESS NOW! With you!"

Which makes me feel like a judgmental bastard. I have to go now. :unsure:


Eating pizza with a fork and knife is like making love through an interpreter.

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a midwestern (Nebraska) step mom

As I said before, it is considered ambrosia in the Nebraska WASP town I grew up in. The Methodists always had it at every potluck, wedding, Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas, and funeral. So did the Lutherans. Heck, we had it so much, even the Catholics started eating it. No one really knows what the Baptists or Latter Day Saints eat, but we occasionally see them in the grocery store.

I am so white trash, my mother still thinks that canned button mushrooms dress up a dish.

And, Rebecca, that is still the quintessential test, even if it is remarkably flawed. It doesn't work quite so well where I'm from (Nebraska) but the Jello salad or green bean casserole tests do.


I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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I think it's a clever Campbell's marketing ploy. Tell people that they've always loved it, and it's time to have it again, and people will believe this to be true.

I totally agree! We never had this dish growing up, but for the last few years it has been a staple at every holiday meal. I think the ads convinced Mom to make it once, and my brother and newphew loved it so it became a permanent menu item.

I did revise it last year by using frozen green beans and a homemade onion topping, and people ate it, but by the amount of leftovers it was clear that the family preferred the canned green bean/Durkee fried onion variation.


Tammy Olson aka "TPO"

The Practical Pantry

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My in law family is 2nd generation German and live in downstate Illinois. The green bean casserole (jello salads too) are a staple of every family gathering I have gone to over 27 years of knowing them. They are "follow the recipe to the letter of the law" kind of people so it was hilarious when I heard my MIL and SIL get in to a heated argument about ruining "The Recipe" because all SIL had was golden cream of mushroom soup and not the cream of mushroom soup called for in "The Recipe". One year they refused our made from scratch pan drippings gravy because it couldn't possible be any better than the package kind. Totally refused to even try. I eat there very seldom any more.

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My German/Irish family never has had a GBC at their holiday, or any other dinner table for that matter. We grew up in good ole Brooklyn, NY, and I never even knew anyone else that had that at their tables either.

My good friends, of Polish/Italian descent, invited us for Turkey day this year to their home. There, on the dinner table, was GBC. My teenage kids never went near it. My daughter later that evening did ask me what the heck was up with the beans in the dish - said that they looked like a science experiment gone horribly wrong. :raz:

My 80-year old mom is making a jello layered dessert this year. Never had one of them, either. This should be interesting.

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