french fried friendsgiving

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Whenever I have a Friendsgiving (for those unfamiliar—like Thanksgiving, but with people you actually enjoy spending time with) to plan, I always opt to make green bean casserole. Why? Because it’s probably the easiest thing you could possibly make, aside from shaking cranberry gelatin out of a can, and it tastes like what Jesus would have for breakfast.

At least, the first few bites do. Then you start to feel kind of nauseous, but you just have to keep eating because it’s Thanksgiving and we love America.

* * *

Here’s how the classic and ubiquitous green bean casserole was invented back in the early 17th century:

Squanto: Hey, Pilgrim Joe. Happy…Thanksgiving.

Pilgrim Joe: That’s an interesting word. I like it.

Squanto: Cool. Once you finish burying that fish with all the corn kernels, I have a question for you.

PJ: What’s up, man?

Squanto: OK. So I have a bunch of green beans, and I’m not sure what to do with them. Let’s play a game. How do you think we could turn something relatively nutritious into the most unhealthy and nutritionally void food imaginable?

PJ: Uh…add smallpox?

Squanto:

PJ: Hey, man, I’m just messing with you. I would say, like, deep fry them and mix them with—I don’t know, condensed milk?

Squanto: That sounds disgusting. But I was thinking about the next closest thing. We could fry some onions until they can no longer be classified as such, add them in and then top it all off with heavy cream.

PJ: Holy crap. I think you’re on to something.

* * *

And so it was: essentially, the first Friendsgiving. Now grocery stores sell everything pre-cooked and pre-fried in cans to make it even easier for us. No growing or harvesting—just pull the top off the can and viola.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

• A couple cans of condensed cream of mushroom soup (I literally have no idea how they manufacture this)
• A couple cans of pre-cooked, cut green beans
• One of those big ol’ cans of french fried onions
• Some salt, black pepper
• 1/2 c milk (I used soymilk…should still be OK, right?)

Mix together the green beans (drained, obvi), the mushroom soup (I used one full 10.75 oz can and half of another one, so about 15 oz total), the milk, and some salt and pepper to taste. Then add in, like, half of the onions.

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Pour into a casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. I’m not sure what baking does since everything is pre-cooked; I even tasted it before I baked it, and it was pretty much the same afterwards, only warmer. Pull it out, sprinkle on the remaining onions, and then bake it for another 5 minutes or so, until the onions on top are crisped. I mean—more crisped. Browner. Or, you can do what I did and just wait until one of your friends calls out from the kitchen, “It smells like burning.”

To compensate for the unhealthiness and sodium content of the casserole, I whipped up a salad with all my fave salad ingredients: baby spinach, goat cheese, pecans, craisins, strawberries (note: spinach and strawberries are two foods that you want to try to buy organic because they usually have the most pesticides. I know, this is a departure from my usual focus on not burning things), and blush wine vinaigrette. We also had mac ‘n’ cheese, potatoes, and beef for the carnivores.

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Happy Friendsgiving to all! My family recently started a turkey-frying tradition where we submerge the bird in scalding-hot oil, and all the men sit around it outside drinking scotch and smoking cigars and talking about how cool it is to fry a turkey. My mom stays inside and talks about how the turkey will probably explode and decimate everything within a 5-mile radius.

I’ll keep y’all posted.

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