It is gray, gloopy and so seductive we only serve it once a year.
Its ingredients could withstand a nuclear blast.
And it has endured, when other dishes made up entirely of canned products have fallen away.
It is, of course, the green bean casserole.
When its creator Dorcas B. Reilly died in October at 92, six decades after she created the dish for Campbell Soup Company's test kitchen, our thoughts turned to the casserole.
Fond thoughts, mostly. Sure, you'll find some detractors, but the green bean casserole is a shining beacon of comfort and crispy onions on the Thanksgiving table.
As an employee in Campbell's home economics department, Reilly was part of a team that created the recipes printed on Campbell's labels. She first created what she called the Green Bean Bake in 1955. To this day, the recipe for green bean casserole remains on the company's cans of mushroom soup:
1 (10.5-ounce) can Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup
½ cup milk
1 dash black pepper
4 cups cooked cut green beans
1 ? cups French's French Fried Onions
Oh, and 1 teaspoon soy sauce.
Did you know the recipe calls for soy sauce?
This Thanksgiving, we took our cue from the humble casserole, and its star vegetable, and thought up a handful of other ways to prepare green beans.
Let's be clear. We are not suggesting you swap the casserole for one of these, just add them on as perhaps a fresher veggie offering. Because in many households, it simply wouldn't be Thanksgiving without the green bean casserole.