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A Revolution of Canned Green Beans

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So it seems Quebec has started the Casserole Revolution. When I was growing up, casseroles were something I ate at hot dish night every Wednesday at our local Lutheran church. Today, they are revolutionary. Does this revolution include tater tot pie? Or canned green beans (french cut naturally)? If there’s no cream of mushroom soup, I can’t support it. After all, as the old leftist slogan goes, “It’s not a revolution unless you can eat gray food with it.”

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  • Banging pots and pans is a common method of protest, especially in Latin America (Southern Cone countries in particular) where they call it cacerolazo.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      Yeah, well Iceland already claimed dibbs on “The kitchenware revolution“.

      Or was it IKEA? They’re easy to mix up.

  • Spud

    There is always the traditional tuna casserole of mac & cheese, peas, cream of mushroom soup and fish in a can.

    • Boy does that combination bring back memories.

    • Ken

      You forgot the canned fried onions sprinkled on top.

      • Spud

        My mom didn’t use the fried onions on the tuna casserole growing up. That was for the green bean one.

        However just to make it even more starchy, she would throw in pilsbury easy bake biscuits to sop up the errant process cheese sauce.

  • elm

    Not a casserole, but your cream of mushroom soup mention reminded me of the most hideous sounding (in retrospect) meal my mother would serve us as kids:

    Open-faced sandwiches served on wonder bread toast with canned asparagus and cream of mushroom soup on top. Yum!

    • Malaclypse

      Mind did the same, but the topping was boil-in-a-bag creamed chipped beef.

    • Jello for dessert?

      • Malaclypse

        My family was Mormon on one side. Jello molds are a staple of my people. The marshmellos mixed in were what made it complete.

      • elm

        Believe it or not, my family is New York Jewish, but in my mind that dish is so goyische it is hard to believe.

        • Lee

          Heresy, this dish is even more goyish than a ham and chesse sandwich even though all the ingredients are technically kosher. It also seems something out of a Lenny Bruce routine.

          • elm

            It really is odd. I have no idea how it came to occupy a place in my family’s meal rotation, especially when I remember how angry my father got at me the one time I tried to order mayo on a turkey sandwich at a diner. I would have thought he’d do a better job policing the use of cream of mushroom soup and wonder bread.

            • Lee

              Under Jewish culinary thought*, a turkey and mayo sandwhich is highly offensive as dish. The anger is a bit understandable. Deli should be eaten with mustard or Russian dressing and on rye or pumperknickle.

              *The idea is that food should be spicy, fatty, and have the potential to at least cause belching. Bland foods are impermissible.

              • Hogan

                In Annie Hall one of her gaffes early in the movie is ordering a pastrami on white with mayo.

              • elm

                Yes, I agree completely. But I was seven. Being publicly yelled at for wanting mayo seemed more than a little disproportionate.

    • Lee

      One of the benefits of being Jewish is that you are spared from eating wonder bread.

      • elm

        One would have thought so! And, in fairness, once I turned 6 or 7 and discovered I liked other types of bread, Wonder Bread went away, except for this one dish.

        • Lee

          My parents refusedt to let my brothers and I eat wonder bread. White bread was allowed but it had to be from a more reputable source like the Italians. They tried very hard to get us to love rye bread, which eventually happened.

          Personally my favorite type of bread is sourdough.

  • If it doesn’t have Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.

    • DrDick

      It is its own food group in working class America. Have to say it came as rather a shock when I learned that I could make a far superior product from scratch.

      • Oh, you must have a Thermomix to make your flawless bechamel. Lucky you!

        • DrDick

          Nope, just a saucepan and a whisk. Not sure that it is flawless, but it beats CCoM soup. (I season it better, with a hint of nutmeg and cayenne and much less salt). Good, fresh crimini mushrooms also helps.

          • (I was making a McArdle joke. I’ve never put nutmeg in there before, I’ll have to try it.)

            • DrDick

              Just use a tiny pinch or it can overwhelm everything else.

      • Ah, but it’s also the first item on the menu of international cuisine.

    • ploeg

      Cream of Mushroom Soup is the Universal Binder that holds everything together. Outside of Cream of Mushroom Soup is entropy and chaos.

  • STH

    My mother would make what we kids called “Barf Casserole”: chicken thighs in cream-of-whatever soup with parmesan cheese (from the green can, of course) on top. White, gluey, and smelly. Inexplicably, my mother and my sister still make–and eat!–this.

    • DrDick

      Sounds like my Okie sister’s cooking. There are reasons I never eat at her house.

  • elm

    Oh, and why are diaganolly cut green beans called “french cut?”

    • ploeg

      Unnecessarily elaborate segmentation of vegetables is luxurious and decadent.

    • Real Americans don’t need ’em cut all fancylike.

  • I don’t want to step on Protevi’s toes but New APPS has linked to a bunch of good stuff recently about the protests.

    Increased use of “kettling” and mass arrests by the police.

    An open letter to the mainstream media covering the Quebec protests.


    Two philosophers discuss the theoretical and historical basis for the protests in Dissent.

    There have been a few interesting pieces of analysis posted there as well.

  • Some of the best foods in the world are casseroles made by working class families stretching a budget with inferior ingredients… cassoulet, shepherd’s pie, lasagna, mac and cheese….

    Presumably at some indeterminate time in the future there will be restaurants in Brooklyn serving “artisinal” tuna casserole.

    • “Presumably at some indeterminate time in the future there will be restaurants in Brooklyn serving “artisinal” tuna casserole.”

      Christ, don’t give them ideas.

    • firefall

      I’d lay odds there already are – I saw artisanal mac&cheese advertised (an excellent guide for where to avoid)

      • I have been a sucker in the past for artisanal mac and cheese. I’m usually not convinced it is worth it, but with different cheeses, you can really do a lot with the dish.

        But I concede the point on principle.

    • At the rate tuna are disappearing they won’t.

    • Joey Maloney

      OK, you got me. I’ve been known to make “deconstructed tuna casserole” – seared tuna sliced thin, fresh peas in wasabi cream sauce, and a parmesan cookie all piled on a lightly-fried lasagna noodle.

  • rea

    Canned food really did work some rather revolutionary changes in human society.

  • West of the Cascades
    • Spud

      Where does fit into this revolution?

      Its the old guard. Its what we expect the police to be lobbing at the protestors to make them disperse.

      Poutine has been what kept Quebec part of Canada for centuries. It drove off American invaders during both the Revolution and War of 1812. Hundreds of American soldiers lost their lives to it. Their bodies covered in brown gravy and semi-curdled cheese.

  • Murc

    Does it expose my bourgeoisie roots that this thread has made me want to vomit?

    I mean, seriously. I’ve eaten filthy gyros at greek joints that I knew for a fact were covers for the mob, and yet the stuff you guys describe here has put me off my dinner.

    • ploeg

      The way to get over this feeling is to have a good hotdish on a stick.

    • Lee

      Yes, yes it does. This stuff makes me want to puke to. I was raised in an upper-middle class Jewish household and this food offends both elements of my upbringing. The closest my parents got to this level was pasta and Prego tomato sauce, which is pretty good comfort food.

    • Spud

      I mean, seriously. I’ve eaten filthy gyros at greek joints that I knew for a fact were covers for the mob, and yet the stuff you guys describe here has put me off my dinner.

      Hey the mobsters know that part of a good cover is providing decent food.

      My favorite dim sum joint in Chinatown is most definitely a hangout spot for the triads as far as I can tell. The atmosphere is fraught with anxiety, but the steamed shrimp dumplings are phenomenal.

  • Ruviana

    I could and do eat most of this stuff–it’s all traditional-like given my midwestern roots–but the great revelation for me when I moved out on my own and began doing my own cooking was asparagus. It was *green*! Who knew? Growing up I always thought it was grey. Only eat it fresh now.

    • elm

      Yeah, of all the vegetable the difference between fresh and canned seems to me to be biggest when it comes to asparagus. Also, not mushy!

    • DrDick

      I was in my early 20s before I realized that cooked vegetables had texture and that meat was not gray.

      • Hogan

        That’s about the age when I discovered that, apart from sticks, fish didn’t have to start out frozen and be baked with a canned stewed tomato on top. Ah, the culinary Tartarus that was the midwest in the ’60s.

        • DrDick

          I knew that about fish from a young age, but mostly because I learned to fish in my grandfather’s pond at around five and the rule was that you had to eat what you caught. On the other hand, I was in my 20s before I had fish that was not grossly overcooked (which is also true of pretty much everything else).

  • Halloween Jack

    I have an aunt who was fairly unpleasant to me and others when I was a child in a number of ways, but one of her slim and sparse virtues was her tater tot casserole; not a lot to it besides ground beef, tater tots, and the ever-popular cream of mushroom soup. I asked one of my siblings who was still on speaking terms with her if they could pry the recipe out of her, but no luck there. Fortunately, I found a decent recipe in the second White Trash Cooking cookbook, which both satisfied my craving and also amused me to no end. (Both of the books are really good reading, even if you could have figured out how to put together a potato chip sandwich on your own.)

  • creature

    Dried beef slices (from the little jar that looks like a recycled jelly jar), CCoM soup, fried/heated/brutalized in a skillet, then, dumped over toasted stale bread, doused with pepper & paprika, served hot! Truly a staple of all bachelor motorcycle enthusiasts the world over. And not kosher, at all, much to my mother’s chagrin. Also, according to my late mother, there is only one brand of motorcycle- it is ‘Goddam’.

    • Simple mInd

      Heh they call that “shit on a shingle”

      • DrDick

        It was also a staple in my home growing up. Have never eaten it since leaving home.

  • Lee

    Casseroles of the world unite, you have nothing to loose but your pots.

  • Matt

    In French, “casserole” means (sauce)pan. And as other commentators have pointed out, banging pots and pans is an import from a Latin American repertoire of collective action. On an unrelated note, in French the big dipper is known as the big casserole (la grande casserole).

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