The woman responsible for inventing the green bean casserole has passed away at the age of 92. Dorcas Reilly invented the famous casserole in 1955, and though she didn’t know it at the time, the dish would become a dinnertime staple for decades to come.
The Hinski-Tomlinson Funeral Home in Haddonfield, New Jersey confirmed to the AP that Reilly passed away from Alzheimer’s disease on Oct. 15.
Reilly worked at Campbell’s Home Economics Department and left in 1961 to be a stay-at-home mom. She returned in 1981, and eventually retired as manager of Campbell’s kitchen in 1988.
Throughout her time with the company, she came up with many recipes for classics including tuna noodle casserole, tomato soup meatloaf and more. She came up with so many recipes, in fact, that she doesn’t even remember creating the green bean casserole, according to an interview with the AP back in 2005.
Still, the easy-to-make casserole became quite memorable for everyone else. It only requires a can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup, milk, soy sauce, green beans, salt and pepper and French’s Crispy Fried Onions to make.
Reilly loved the simplicity and the price point. According to the New York Times, she said, “It’s so easy. And it’s not an expensive thing to make, too.”
Campbell’s estimates the cost to make this dish is just $5.74 on their website.
Reilly told the AP she was pleasantly surprised that each family was able to make the recipe, which was originally called the “green bean bake,” feel like their own. The recipe developer made it a staple in her own home, too, and she said she always had the ingredients for it on-hand in case guests requested it.
“She took a lot of pride in it,” her husband told the Times following her death. “She was delighted when anybody said they liked it, and most everybody liked it.”
Campbell’s said in its statement that the recipe will be served in 20 million American households this Thanksgiving.
If you sit down to eat the dish this Thanksgiving, remember Reilly and how she changed our lives for the better.