Dorcas Reilly isn’t a household name. But if you’ve celebrated Thanksgiving in the United States, chances are good you’ve tasted her most well-known creation. Reilly came up with the recipe for green bean casserole, and though she passed away on Oct. 15, her legacy will live on for years to come.
When Did Dorcas Reilly Invent the Green Bean Casserole?
Reilly worked for the Campbell’s Soup kitchen, which led her to think outside the box with the company’s products. One day in 1955, Reilly mixed Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup with green beans, and green bean casserole was born. (The name didn’t catch on immediately, though—Reilly originally named her creation “Green Bean Bake,” CNN reports.)
Campbell’s Soup has called the casserole “the mother of all comfort foods.” Her legacy will live on in a special way, too. The company submitted Dorcas’ recipe to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2002!
Reilly is survived by a host of family members, including her husband, son, daughter, four grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. But those without a personal connection can still celebrate Reilly’s life for years to come, too, thanks to her genius invention.
What a lovely tribute to a woman whose green bean casserole recipe is a staple at Southern family gatherings. Amazing fact hidden in this obituary: Campbell’s estimates that 40% of cream of mushroom soup sales are for making a green bean casserole https://t.co/qhc06uU2aF
— Amy Brittain (@AmyJBrittain) October 24, 2018
Tonight, I will feast on green bean casserole. This is for you, Dorcas Reilly.
— Emily Beeler (@EmilyBeeler) October 24, 2018
What’s in the Original Green Bean Casserole?
You can recreate Reilly’s invention, because The Philadelphia Inquirer has an image of Reilly’s original green bean casserole recipe card. The recipe is fairly simple, calling for the cream of mushroom soup and green beans, plus water, celery salt, soy sauce, pepper, French’s fried onions and Worcestershire sauce.
Reilly’s original recipe card suggests serving the dish alongside sliced ham, although these days, it’s more often served alongside a Thanksgiving turkey.