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Zen and the art of green bean casserole

by | Last updated May 2, 2022 | Published on Nov 25, 2019 | Savoir Stuff | 0 comments

The hashtags #casserole and #greenbeancasserole are trending, which means Thanksgiving quickly approaches. At Savoir Faire, we like to share a little about the team in blog posts around the holidays. You can see our Thanksgiving series here and here.

As you may recall, this holiday finds the team a little more dispersed along the East Coast. But, while geography changes, some things remain the same, like holiday spreads and comfort food.

It’s hard to believe that green bean casserole is considered one of the least-favorite Thanksgiving foods by Americans (according to this Harris poll ), as it has a home at many tables each year. Here’s a taste of the team’s Thanksgiving chat about menus past and present.

Corey: Here’s a little Midwest Thanksgiving trivia. A common dish called party potatoes is also known as “funeral potatoes.” Regarding green bean casserole, it was a staple (and eaten completely) at Thanksgivings in St. Louis for as long as I can remember. In fact, it got to where two people were bringing it to the potluck family dinner. Amy, care you give your opinion on green bean casserole? Fresh or canned?

Amy: I prefer fresh but will probably do canned because that’s what everyone else loves – with French’s onions on top. Sweet potato casserole, yay or nay? Homemade cranberry sauce or jelly from the can? Stove Top stuffing or meat stuffing in the bird? Apple or pumpkin pie? These are all questions that come up EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. For us, anyway. And, we always end up doing the same thing: sweet potato casserole, both cranberry sauces, both kinds of stuffing and both pies. So, I’m not sure why the same questions come up every year since we always have the same answers!

​Corey: Anyone ever get ill from the stuffing inside the turkey? Grandma, who hosted T-giving up until her final days, did stuffing in the bird (in a roaster) and a pan of stuffing not in the bird (dry as the Sahara). We called it all stuffing whether it was in the bird or not. Never dressing.

Ben: I’ve never really been a fan of green bean casserole. I was introduced to it as an adult – never as a child – and it just doesn’t work for me. I love green beans, but not all the extra stuff that people put into it.

​ Janna: Back home [Note, New Hampshire is home for Janna though she resides in South Carolina currently], it would be turkey in the oven, stuffing, mashed potatoes, squash, green beans (with just garlic and breadcrumbs) and Italian wedding soup. We always have pecan pie – down here they pronounce it different – in addition to pumpkin and apple. My parents haven’t stuffed a bird in years, which is probably good because my mom puts pork in the stuffing. On the topic of green bean casserole, it’s one of my faves, if done well. Otherwise, it can be one of the worst dishes.

​Corey: Describe done well.

Janna: Sometimes the sauce is lumpy and too much, or the French fried onions were put on too early and got soggy. I prefer fresh green beans, not canned. If it’s overly salty or mushy, it’s no good. But, if the green beans aren’t cooked enough, I don’t like it. There’s an art to the green bean casserole to make it holiday-worthy.

​Corey: I like that – the art of green bean casserole. I agree with fresh beans and all you mention. I have experimented with it, changing up the sauce. Once, eve tried it with cheese. I love cheese but it did not pair well.

Janna: Are you a yay or nay on including mushrooms?

​Corey: When I was a kid, I would say, “Yuck,” but now, yes. Once I did it with homemade cream of mushroom soup as the sauce with big ol’ chunks of ’shrooms.  What do you anticipate on the menu next week? Is this a big to-do with your new pals?

​Janna: I took a look at the list of foods being prepared for our party in the development. I’m not seeing anything Southern (deep fried turkey or smoked turkey, they haven’t decided) cornbread casserole, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, carrots, etc.

​Corey: A casserole smorgasbord!

Janna: All our new pals are already decorating and Christmas shopping like Thanksgiving is a speed bump to Christmas.

Stephanie: Traditionally, in our house, Thanksgiving was turkey; stuffing in the bird and an extra dish cooked outside (never called dressing under any circumstances); mashed squash (I think butternut); fresh green beans (no casserole); mashed potatoes; cranberry sauce from a can (my dad’s favorite); and gravy.* Also on hand were multiple quick breads: walnut date bread, cranberry bread and maybe one more. Then, the buffet of desserts, which always included an apple and a pumpkin pie.

​Corey: Steph, your menu growing up sounds a lot like Janna’s family. Buffet of deserts was always on hand at Grandma’s, including two chocolate pies for the kids. Really just pudding in a pie crust. I skipped that for extra pumpkin pie. We always had a container of whipped topping. Not the spray bottle.

Stephanie: *Now, as for gravy, my grandmother taught my mother (and my brother) how to make her gravy. It’s homemade – none of this packet or canned crap. And, it’s the best gravy Patrick (my husband) has ever tasted. For me, it was just the gravy, and it was always good! (Except for the year I got a local-raised turkey, which didn’t produce enough fat to make a good gravy!)

The year has gobbled by for Team Savoir Faire – in fact it’s hard to believe that one year ago Steph moved into a new home during Thanksgiving week, and Corey did the same thing this year. With all that activity it was difficult to get the team together in-person this week, but here’s proposing a green bean casserole bake off in 2020!

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

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Zen and the art of green bean casserole – Savoir Faire Marketing & Communications

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