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Thanksgiving is upon us and as I walk through the aisles of the grocery store I cringe when I see the big displays of canned green beans, Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup and French’s onions. It kills me that a majority of Americans are going to consume such processed ingredients and love it.

Years ago, my mother brought “her” green beans to my in-laws house for Thanksgiving. Instead of making the Campbell’s version of green bean casserole my mother used fresh green beans. She simmered tomatoes and peppers with red pepper flake. She topped the green beans with this sauce and some melted cheese. They were divine. “Where is the green bean casserole?” gasped my mother-in-law? Apparently my mother had committed the cardinal sin of Thanksgiving – no usage of canned ingredients.

In this age of farm to table, organic and sustainable trends why are so many folks still serving this tinny, mid western dish? Instead of using canned green beans – why not use fresh? Instead of soup – make your own mushroom gravy. Instead of French’s onions – fry up some fresh shallots.  There are a multitude of recipes on the web that can help you create the (dare I say it) “traditional” casserole.  Or even better use vegetables that are in season like sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, leeks, butternut squash and parsnips.

I know that there are some die-hard green bean casserole fans out there, but this year I challenge all of you to either make it from scratch or try something new.

Happy Thanksgiving!