Best Back of the Box Recipes: French’s French Fried Onions and Campbell’s Green Bean Casserole

Brooke Newberry
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It’s time we told you the truth: some of our mothers’ simple, undisclosed recipes weren’t completely their own. Many of them were the old school “back of the box” classics – whether they were Mom’s own variations or straight representations, the backs of those boxes were once the best kept secret weapons in the kitchen.

There’s something more comforting about cooking or baking from the back of a box than from an actual cookbook or Internet recipe.  It’s all about marketing – if the box endorses it, it must be flawless in taste and method. Back of the box recipes are usually plain, simple and dedicated to the ingredient featured and sold inside the package. So what makes a recipe a classic?  It seems as though Generation X has come to know the taste of these recipes as “classics” because of their original box printing and familiar nostalgic taste. Whether semi-homemade or semi-authentic, we grew up with these time-honored recipes and consider them family.

This week: French’s French Fried Onions and Campbell’s Green Bean Casserole

The one, the only: the green bean casserole. Its semi-homemade roots from Campbell’s Soup and canned crispy onions have secured this side dish a spot in countless American homes during the holidays. The green bean casserole was first created in 1955 by the Campbell Soup Company. The inspiration for the dish, created by Dorcas Reilly, was “to create a quick and easy recipe around two things most Americans always had on hand in the 1950s: green beans and Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup.” 

French’s French Fried Onions are the casserole’s iconic counterpart and should be generously applied. Modernized variations are of course encouraged, but we whip this one out on occasion to honor our childhood.

In the words of Wyclef Jean, “I’ll be gone…’til November.” 

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