Cook a green bean casserole at Thanksgiving this year in memoriam.
Dorcas Reilly, the woman who’s credited with creating the beloved, down-home side dish, died on Oct. 15 from Alzheimer’s disease at age 92, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
Reilly, who lived in New Jersey, made the decision to combine green beans, cream of mushroom soup and crunchy fried onions as a topping, according to Campbell’s Soup officials.
Green bean casserole is reportedly the most popular item ever created by the company’s corporate kitchen. The original recipe card joined the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2002, and its online version got 2.7 million views during last year’s holiday season, according to the outlet.
“Dorcas was an incredible woman, whose legacy will live on for years to come,” Campbell’s wrote in a statement. “She will be missed by her colleagues and all those who were impacted by her creativity and generous spirit.”
The first version of green bean casserole (as we know it) came to be in 1955, when Reilly was working as a kitchen supervisor and combined the three ingredients for an AP story. Fifty years later, for an anniversary feature, the cook revealed to the wire service that she didn’t even remember that fateful culinary moment. She’d had a hand in creating hundreds of other recipes for her employer, including tomato soup meatloaf, a tuna noodle casserole and sloppy joe-inspired “souperburgers.”
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Reilly always kept green bean casserole ingredients in her home, she said, in case someone asked her to whip one up without warning. She’s survived by her husband of 59 years, Thomas, and a son and daughter. A service will be held Saturday in Haddonfield.