Greener BeeGreen HolidaysGreen bean casseroles should only come from cans

Thanksgiving is a holiday of traditions. More so than any other family gathering, this particular holiday demands that you watch the same parade, follow it up with the same football games, and, of course, make and eat the same foods, no matter where you live. There’s no cooking like home cooking for the holidays.

But now, I live 500 miles away from my family’s home, and due to numerous circumstances, I can’t always make it back to Ohio for Thanksgiving. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to give up on my favorite holiday foods. Nobody’s holiday food is as good as my mom’s. So when I cooked my first Thanksgiving at my Brooklyn apartment, I gave her a ring to see what great family secrets made all my favorite sides so good.

But when I called her to learn what the secret was to her savory stuffing, insatiable green bean casserole, and perfect pumpkin pie, I learned a dark truth: All her recipes come from the packaging. The stuffing? That’s from the Pepperidge Farm bag. The pumpkin pie? It’s not Mom’s; it’s Libby’s. And her green bean casserole? Straight from the Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup can.

My parents are incredible home cooks. They’ve been flambéing in the kitchen, experimenting with new recipes, and baking up a storm every Christmas season for as long as I can remember. So learning that all of my favorite Thanksgiving comfort foods were off-the-rack (so to say) was mildly surprising. But, you know, why improve on a classic?


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