R.I.P. Dorcas Reilly, Thanksgiving pioneer who created the green bean casserole
The original recipe card is in the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
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Whether you make it or a relative does, there's a pretty good chance the green bean casserole will be making an appearance on your table next month at your Thanksgiving dinner. Who do we have to thank for this comforting twist on a healthy vegetable? That would be Dorcas Reilly, New Jersey native, former Campbell's Soup kitchen supervisor and Cream of Mushroom connoisseur.
In 1955, Reilly put together this iconic dish for the first time for a feature with the Associated Press and Campbell's recipe cards. Due to the simple nature of the recipe and the fact that most people had Cream of Mushroom soup, frozen green beans and onions on hand, the quick casserole quickly became a holiday favorite. In 2005, she returned to AP for the recipe's 50th anniversary, stating that she didn't really remember how exactly she came up with it, noting that Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup was just a typical casserole filler in the Midwest. In fact, Campbell's estimates that approximately 40 percent of Cream of Mushroom soup is sold to make green bean casserole.
“Dorcas was an incredible woman, whose legacy will live on for years to come. She will be missed by her Campbell colleagues and all those who were impacted by her creativity and generous spirit,” Campbell's company said. She was a part of the Campbell's kitchen on and off from the late 1940s until 1988 when she retired.
The Washington Post reported today that Reilly died of Alzheimer's disease at the age of 92 on October 15. Other creations of hers include tuna noodle casserole and tomato soup meatloaf.