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Green Bean Casserole


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Au contraire, my fellow monotheist.  Tuna casserole is a staple dish in the Jewish household as well, prepared with Creamettes elbow macaroni, tunafish cream o' mushroom soup and (of course)...frozen peas! 

It most certainly is NOT! :shock: Tuna fish is for sandwhiches. Full stop. :raz:

Actually, Cake, really good canned tuna packed in olive oil is not just for sandwiches and in combination with noodles, there are some precedents to the casserole amongst so-called white folk who tan.

It's great in a number of quick Italian home-style dishes that are probably based on wonderful things they do with dried pasta and seafood in Naples (see regional forum). While the best of the best imported brands of oil-packed tuna are extremely expensive, Geneva, distributed by Chicken of the Sea, is less costly and really tastes like something.

Saute garlic in olive oil, add a couple of chopped canned Italian plum tomatoes (just the tomato, drained), stir and let cook 5-10 minutes then add the drained tuna, tons of minced fresh parsley, freshly ground pepper and capers. Dump cooked spaghetti into pan to make sure none of this great stuff is lost. Glass of red wine.... :smile:

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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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!    Damn you, man, damn you! :angry::rolleyes:

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.

:laugh:

Sandy, I have a question regarding mac & cheese as a side dish for major holidays in November & December. Is this an African-American tradition? A Southern tradition? Or just something I was not aware of in my years living in New England, the Midwest and Out West?

It's a big thing to have at Thanksgiving for some African-Americans in Washington, D.C. However, in my family, mac & cheese is the main course, something that I am guessing became popular during WWII when my grandmother's generation was cutting back on the meat that she served over the course of a week.

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Last time for now, I promise, but I just borrowed Villas's Crazy for Casseroles from the public library. On page 187, he's got, brace yourself,

M.F.K. Fisher's Baked Tuna with Mushroom Sauce

Ingredients include:

2 cans of chunk light tuna packed in oil

1 can Campbell's condensed mushroom soup

Sharp cheddar cheese

I quote the author: "...and if Mary Frances didn't find a thing wrong with using canned soup in this tuna casserole she served me once at lunch at her ranch in Sonoma, California, neither should we. Of course, she called the mushroom soup a 'sauce'..."

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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

Aw, s**t, Diva, now you're making me have to come out of the closet and reveal my :sad:Inner Oreo!

My grandma on my Dad's side, at whose house I ate Thanksgiving dinner every year from when I was old enough to remember until the day I left Kansas City for good, fixed only pumpkin pie for dessert.

I didn't taste sweet potato pie until my teens, when I went to a feast at my Aunt Elaine's (one of Mom's two sisters) where it was served.

I must agree with you on the relative merits of the two, but I'm afraid the cultural imprint left by Grandma Smith is way too strong for me to overcome without concerted effort. However, you may contribute to that effort with a decent recipe. :wink::smile:

I don't mean any harm but, YOUR INNER WHAT?. :blink:

Poor thing, no sweet potato pie until your teens? I happen to like pumpkin pie, but almost never saw it growing up (my mother never baked one). People would kindly but ignorantly give us a pumpkin pie and of course demonstrating our best Southern manners, we would thank the person (hint: they were NEVER Black) put it in the back of the refrigerator, where it would sit for a while (few weeks) until one of us "discovered" it after it had gone bad, so we had to throw it away. To throw it away immediately would have shown bad manners and ingratitude. But if it had spoiled, well that's another thing. :rolleyes:

It was sweet potato pie all the way growing up at my house, in my friends and relatives homes, our minister's wife's home, etc. My family still hates pumpkin pie to this day and considers it odd that I like it. But sweet potato pie captured my heart. I still make it the way my mother did--at least I try--but it's from memory. I'd be happy to try create a written recipe for it, but to be truthful it there'll always be something missing: her. :smile:

Edited by divalasvegas (log)

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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Last time for now, I promise, but I just borrowed Villas's Crazy for Casseroles from the public library.  On page 187, he's got, brace yourself,

M.F.K. Fisher's Baked Tuna with Mushroom Sauce

Ingredients include:

2 cans of chunk light tuna packed in oil

1 can Campbell's condensed mushroom soup

Sharp cheddar cheese

I quote the author: "...and if Mary Frances didn't find a thing wrong with using canned soup in this tuna casserole she served me once at lunch at her ranch in Sonoma, California, neither should we.  Of course, she called the mushroom soup a 'sauce'..."

Thank you. I feel much better now.

I was not the epitome of trash in thinking that a can of tuna, a can of cream of mushroom, some egg noodles, and however much cheddar cheese you can scratch out on top is a bad thing. In fact it is a good thing. According to the ranchers in Sonoma. I will be sure to cite their endorsement in the future.

Ah, a bit of white pride...

:smile:

ETA: Typo correction

Edited by annecros (log)
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Au contraire, my fellow monotheist.  Tuna casserole is a staple dish in the Jewish household as well, prepared with Creamettes elbow macaroni, tunafish cream o' mushroom soup and (of course)...frozen peas! 

It most certainly is NOT! :shock: Tuna fish is for sandwhiches. Full stop. :raz:

Actually, Cake, really good canned tuna packed in olive oil is not just for sandwiches and in combination with noodles, there are some precedents to the casserole amongst so-called white folk who tan.

It's great in a number of quick Italian home-style dishes that are probably based on wonderful things they do with dried pasta and seafood in Naples (see regional forum). While the best of the best imported brands of oil-packed tuna are extremely expensive, Geneva, distributed by Chicken of the Sea, is less costly and really tastes like something.

Saute garlic in olive oil, add a couple of chopped canned Italian plum tomatoes (just the tomato, drained), stir and let cook 5-10 minutes then add the drained tuna, tons of minced fresh parsley, freshly ground pepper and capers. Dump cooked spaghetti into pan to make sure none of this great stuff is lost. Glass of red wine.... :smile:

Oh my. White folk who tan. :laugh: You should see my screen now. This is what I get for trying to eat ice cream, watch The Nutcracker, and read eGullet at the same time. I am not now, nor have I ever been, multitalented. But oh that young Baryshnikov.

Anyway, I was talking about growing up in a Jewish family. Tuna fish, back then, was for sandwiches only. Full stop. On Wonder bread. (And they were especially good if you put potato chips in them just before you were ready to eat.) Really, there was no such thing as a casserole in my family, I had no idea what it was, and I'm pretty sure no one else in my neighborhood did either, so why would we waste a can of tuna on it?

But I do appreciate that recipe. It looks both simple and intense. It also looks like dinner at some point over the weekend. :smile:

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Sandy, I have a question regarding mac & cheese as a side dish for major holidays in November & December.  Is this an African-American tradition?  A Southern tradition?  Or just something I was not aware of in my years living in New England, the Midwest and Out West?

Short answer: Yes.

Longer answer: It's primarily an African-American tradition now, though I'm sure that plenty of white Southerners will pipe up that they serve it often enough; however, it usually doesn't have the place of honor it does at large holiday dinners thrown by black folk. (BTW, it's not just holidays. It wouldn't be a family reunion without someone making it.)

Aside: I find that mixing cubed leftover ham with leftover mac & cheese makes a delish lunch dish. It's something of a post-New Year's staple for me.

It's a big thing to have at Thanksgiving for some African-Americans in Washington, D.C.  However, in my family, mac & cheese is the main course, something that I am guessing became popular during WWII when my grandmother's generation was cutting back on the meat that she served over the course of a week.

Now that's something I haven't yet run across--mac & cheese, unadulterated, as a main course!

I know that you can get frozen mac & cheese by itself, so it must not be that uncommon.

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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Regarding the tuna casserole, just to clarify things Fresser and everyone else, indeed this dish is Minnesotan, Norwegian, Swedish, Lutheran, Catholic, Jewish, Baptist, Black and White.  Not at all the line drawn in the sand that is green bean casserole.  :raz:  My mom made this for us growing up.  She had been a cook (in hotel restaurants and homes) and a housekeeper.  Actually, I really loved and craved this dish, but only when she made it.  The only difference is--Sandy please back me up here--that Black folks "refined and perfected it."  :biggrin:  At least my mom did. :smile:

My dad was the cook in my family, and I don't recall him making tuna casserole that often. (What I do remember is his buying frozen rabbit every so often and serving it fried. Yes, it Tasted Like Chicken, only a little gamier and much saltier.)

BTW, your mom sounds like a wonderful person.

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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Regarding the tuna casserole, just to clarify things Fresser and everyone else, indeed this dish is Minnesotan, Norwegian, Swedish, Lutheran, Catholic, Jewish, Baptist, Black and White.  Not at all the line drawn in the sand that is green bean casserole.  :raz:  My mom made this for us growing up.  She had been a cook (in hotel restaurants and homes) and a housekeeper.  Actually, I really loved and craved this dish, but only when she made it.  The only difference is--Sandy please back me up here--that Black folks "refined and perfected it."  :biggrin:  At least my mom did. :smile:

My dad was the cook in my family, and I don't recall him making tuna casserole that often. (What I do remember is his buying frozen rabbit every so often and serving it fried. Yes, it Tasted Like Chicken, only a little gamier and much saltier.)

BTW, your mom sounds like a wonderful person.

Many thanks Sandy from both me and mom (Mae Alice). Now, where's that green bean casserole antidote? :smile:

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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And I think that that TV commercial is indeed a clever marketing ploy, given that we have heard from some actual white people who have never even been in the presence of Green Bean Casserole.

Mebbe. Online it's easy to pass.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Annecros: I wouldn't forget the deodorant if I were you. Ms. Fisher did NOT put noodles in her tuna casserole, so she may have had a nice loaf of crusty bread on the side. Fresh fruit in a clear bowl, water clinging to each grape instead of Jello-O.

Sandy: Regarding mac & cheese as a main dish, I didn't have much experience with this while growing up since I was allergic to wheat and dairy back then. However, it was standard in my nursery school. I have had much fortune serving it to children later in life, especially when their parent(s) didn't know the stuff could be made without a box and that it was baked.

Now that comfort food is in, among the Matt Damon-type Hollywood crowd, mac & cheese main courses were very big a couple of years ago.

However, it MUST be doctored. James Beard inspires, adding powdered mustard and Tabasco sauce. Me: gorgonzola...not a lot, but enough to kick back. Also quite good with layers of cooked, finely chopped, drained spinach. NO crumbs on top. Must have a deep brown milky crust.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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And I think that that TV commercial is indeed a clever marketing ploy, given that we have heard from some actual white people who have never even been in the presence of Green Bean Casserole.

Mebbe. Online it's easy to pass.

Too funny!

By the way, isn't there a tuna "Helper" out there that is cheddar flavored and comes with noodles? I think my Mom attempted to feed this to my father, exactly ONE time. Dad was a patient man, but he did have his limits. I think there might have been a row.

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By the way, isn't there a tuna "Helper" out there that is cheddar flavored and comes with noodles? I think my Mom attempted to feed this to my father, exactly ONE time. Dad was a patient man, but he did have his limits. I think there might have been a row.

Yes. I used to buy it when I was lazier.

It's probably only a matter of time before Betty Crocker comes out with "Green Bean Helper," a packet of dehydrated mushroom cream sauce and another of french fried onions (the same ones they already put in "Philly Cheesesteak" Hamburger Helper :wacko: ) that you add to green beans along with water. Just simmer and serve, folks...

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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Sandy, this is one of the funnest topics I have read in a long time.

"inner oreo" ? do you know how gross it is to blow cabernet threw your nose!!! :shock: Then I had to clean the screen of my laptop off.

My mother a scratch cook never made the stuff. It was a matter of pride. Wasp New England pride I guess. No clam chowder is not supposed to look like wall paper paste she used to proclaim, its milk based for God's sake! But I digress.

I had the GBC when I drifted south to Ky and then again in MI and PA. Gaah.

My brother in law has started to bring it to thanksgiving along with his "yazmin bleath" sweet potato and mini marshmallow casserole.

:blink:

The horror. Odd, the wife's side of the family makes a serious mac 'n cheese.

Since we are viewing the rich cultural tapestry of our little corner of the earth.....Has anyone encountered the whole stewed tomatoes on top of the Mac n' cheese thing? Is this debauchery limited to Pennsylvania?

Talk amongst yourselves..

Thanks again

Edited by handmc (log)

**************************************************

Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt. - Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

--------------------

One summers evening drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifeless…Warren

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Ah, here it is:

http://www.bettycrocker.com/products/prod_tunahelper.asp

Cheesy Pasta Tuna Helper.

Wow. My Tuna Noodle Casserole now seems very high end.

From the FAQ (yes, there are frequently asked questions about Tuna Helper):

Why did the product spill over onto the floor of the microwave?

The product will spill over if you added more tuna than specified in the package directions. Or you may have added too much liquid. To measure the liquid, place a liquid measuring cup on your counter, pour in the liquid, bend down and check the amount at eye level.

:blink:

The liquid is water.

I will not snicker, I will not snicker, I will not snicker...

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And I think that that TV commercial is indeed a clever marketing ploy, given that we have heard from some actual white people who have never even been in the presence of Green Bean Casserole.

Mebbe. Online it's easy to pass.

'Fraid I'm too dark to get away with that, though Grandma Smith and my Uncle Cole (Dad's older brother, Coleridge H. Smith Jr.; my own name's my Dad's too) went on at some length about the Scots, Irish and two Indian tribes in my ancestry and how there have been ancestors living in Missouri since it was a territory (they didn't say whether it was as free people or as slaves, or both) and there's a painting of my Dad's sister, Dorothy (Hampton), in Grandma's living room where she looks almost as pale as the wealthy family my Grandpa Smith worked for and my Mom once described the Smiths as "light, bright and almost white" and...

I guess that if they had been white enough, the Smiths would have had members of the clan in the DAR. :hmmm: Then again, Grandma Smith gave me a copy of Langston Hughes' The Illustrated History of the Negro in America (Crown, 1966), which I still have, for my 10th birthday, and inscribed in the front that she was giving it to me because she wanted to make sure I learned "the things they aren't teaching you in those white schools." (I never attended a majority black school a day in my life.)

It's all very complex.

Sort of like (as a Jewish friend of mine put it when he was lamenting something that wasn't really Jewish, but tried to pass itself off as the real thing) "serving matzo ball soup with bacon bits."

Edited by MarketStEl (log)

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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[Regarding "passing"]

Sort of like (as a Jewish friend of mine put it when he was lamenting something that wasn't really Jewish, but tried to pass itself off as the real thing) "serving matzo ball soup with bacon bits."

Revolting as this concept sounds, I must point out that Bac-o-Bits® sold at the store are actually kosher. They're made from soybeans and they carry the hechser (or symbol of kashruth).

Also, there's a Yiddish expression for something that tries to pass for the real thing but isn't quite right: kosher chozzer fissel. I'll leave it up to Bloviatrix to translate this verbal chestnut.

This concludes our daily dose of erudition. (Not bad for someone who didn't go to Harvard...right, Sandy?) :rolleyes:

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

borschtbelt.blogspot.com

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Of course, Freddy also calls bagels & lox "Jewish soul food,"

Where I grew up, that phrase meant Chinese food.

I had never heard of green bean casserole until I saw those commercials, but my wife says she had known of it previously.

edited to correct historical inaccuracy.

Edited by Moopheus (log)

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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My mother makes this every year, she loves it. It was banned from Thanksgiving this year, she lost the vote to her (Italian) husband, who hates the stuff with a passion.

I eat it when she serves it and like it, pretty much. She used to get mad at me because I would eat all the french fried onions before she could make the casserole !! :laugh:

I am white, my soon to be hubby is black and the first time he had ever seen it or heard of it was our first Thanksgiving at my moms. He ate it and said it was ok, but didn't seem overly impressed.

My kids love it, thanks Grammy ! :hmmm:

Today is going to be one of those days.....

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I don't think I've ever found it at a buffet, strangely enough. Or, more likely, I saw it, but did not partake, a la Bill Clinton.

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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Just  the mere mention of it makes me shudder with Fargo flashbacks.

Remember the buffet scene where Officer Marge Gunderson piles her tray high with steam-table goodies? Surely some green bean casserole found its way onto her plate.

Oh, God, Fargo! My nominee for Best Coen Brothers Film Yet Made--and the Coen Brothers have yet to make a bad one, though Barton Fink was just a bit too surreal for me to handle at the time I saw it.

That stoic expression on Gunderson's face as she's driving back from just having dealt with the guy who fed his ex-partner in crime into the wood chipper was too freaky for words--in its own way more chilling than tossing the guy in the wood chipper.

But then, that's an Upper Midwestern thing.

I wouldn't know from that down my way, where everyone's Glad To Meet You. (That aspect of Central Plains culture gives East Coast folk the creeps.)

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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Just  the mere mention of it makes me shudder with Fargo flashbacks.

Remember the buffet scene where Officer Marge Gunderson piles her tray high with steam-table goodies? Surely some green bean casserole found its way onto her plate.

Oh, God, Fargo! My nominee for Best Coen Brothers Film Yet Made--and the Coen Brothers have yet to make a bad one, though Barton Fink was just a bit too surreal for me to handle at the time I saw it.

That stoic expression on Gunderson's face as she's driving back from just having dealt with the guy who fed his ex-partner in crime into the wood chipper was too freaky for words--in its own way more chilling than tossing the guy in the wood chipper.

But then, that's an Upper Midwestern thing.

I wouldn't know from that down my way, where everyone's Glad To Meet You. (That aspect of Central Plains culture gives East Coast folk the creeps.)

I loved the movie too- probably because I lived it- having been raised in the land of "Ya, sure, Bob ya betcha" I have more bad food memories than there is time or space to relate! :laugh: for example there was the time with the lutefisk dinner at my boss' house...never mind!

Kate

edited for computer illiteracy!

Edited by NWKate (log)
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