As families gather for their holiday feasts across the country, millions of Americans will look forward in particular to one enduring favorite side dish: the green bean casserole.
It’s a staple, after all.
But it wasn’t always so. In fact, it was invented by a Campbell’s employee, one Dorcas Reilly, some 60 years ago.
Hard to believe, but canned soup, fried onion bits and green beans weren’t always a natural go-to combo. Now the dish sells millions of dollars in condensed mushroom goo every fourth quarter.
It’s in the spirit of Campbell’s immortal La Reilly, then, that we aren’t sure whether to chuckle, cringe or take a bite when we see things like these seven flavor experiments. Some are new, some are just new to us, and some are sure to be gone by the holiday season next year.
With commentary from friends who are chefs, food writers or both, most of them offered during a lively group discussion on Facebook:
1. Cappuccino Potato Chips, from Lay’s, which also test-marketed Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese, Mango Salsa and Wasabi Ginger this year.
Reports Jill Silva, food editor of the Kansas City Star: “I left those cappuccino chips out in the newsroom – where every dish gets wiped clean – and I was accused of trying to poison my colleagues.”
Kristen Browning-Blas, until recently the food editor of The Denver Post: “I suppose marketing people know that consumers respond to wacky new taste sensations. I think American palates are so inured to the artificial burst of sweet-salt flavors that real food doesn’t taste right to them.”
2. Bacon dental floss. Jill also notes the growing popularity of bacon-flavored additives, including this one.
3. Carlos Frias of The Palm Beach Post posted this on Instagram: Maple Bacon Coffee Porter. From Funky Buddha, no less.
4. “Garlic ice cream is the latest craziness I’ve heard about,” says Meridith Ford, a pastry chef, former dining critic at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and currently a marketing consultant for Atlanta restaurants.
Crazy — or inspired? I think this one could work. I still dream of Hector Santiago’s avocado ice cream at his late Pura Vida. And I don’t even mind Richard Blais’s foie gras milkshake, which endures currently at his Flip Burger chain.
5. Chicken Wing Ice Cream. Here, though, we draw the line.
6. Kool-Aid Pickles, included by Susan Puckett in her book “Eat Drink Delta: A Hungry Traveler’s Journey through the Soul of the South.”
“They are a Mississippi Delta classic started years ago by kids in poor neighborhoods who would go into convenience stores after school and buy a pack of Kool-Aid, open it up and sprinkle it over a jumbo dill pickle,” Susan says.
“Then store owners saw an opportunity and started marinating them in different flavors. They are not for everyone, to say the least.
7. Frito’s Pizza at Papa John’s. Susan’s husband, Ralph Ellis of CNN, points out this one but offers no elaboration.
Sometimes, none’s needed.
So, will any of these make it to your kitchen this year?
Send us your own crazy favorites.
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