By: Amy Wise
Flashback to Thanksgiving 1993…Jamie and I had been husband and wife for just a few months and we were going to our first “married Thanksgiving” at his sister’s house. His sister asked me to bring a dish to share with everyone and I was so excited to be contributing to the Thanksgiving dinner. I was a little nervous because it was our first holiday as a married couple with his family. I decided to bring the staple dish that I had grown up with…green bean casserole with french onions on top. You all know it, you all love it, you’ve all had it…right?
Well, we got to his sister’s house and I proudly walked in with my green bean casserole. I set it on the table, took off the foil, and waited for everyone to dig in. After we said a prayer everyone started to dish up all their food from the table…everything but my casserole that is. So I thought, hmm, why is nobody eating my green bean casserole? This is a favorite at my house…what’s up? I was starting to get a little hurt as everyone dished up and walked right by my beans. Whatever…I proudly filled my plate and ate those beans up! However, I was literally the only one! Apparently black folk don’t like green bean casserole.
The funny thing is after that holiday meal, I was given the task of bringing the rolls and the soda going forward. Yes, you heard me…rolls and soda…pretty impossible to screw up right? My green bean casserole has been the holiday funny ever since. Good thing I have a good sense of humor! At first it really did hurt my feelings, but now I can actually look back and laugh. This was one more thing to adjust to in a mixed marriage….getting used to each other’s traditions big and small. As time went on I graduated to making complete meals for Jamie’s family…um, minus the green bean casserole!
The hilarity continued this year when my sister-in-law Niki called to let me know that the green bean casserole commercials had started and she couldn’t wait to make it. I laughed! It truly is the running joke even after all these years. By the way, a little aside, Niki is white like me. The silliness continued on Thanksgiving day while talking to my mom. She said, while giggling, ”Be sure to tell Jamie that Aunt Sal is cooking green bean casserole today.” Then minutes after that phone call, Jamie’s longtime friend Calvin, otherwise known as “T”, called to wish us a happy Thanksgiving. Jamie and T were comparing menus and T listed green bean casserole as one of the dishes he and his wife were making for dinner. Jamie quickly said, “Oh hell no!” and just started laughing! He then proceeded to share the infamous green bean casserole story with T. Another little funny, T just so happens to be black and his wife is white. Do you see a pattern here? I have yet to talk to an all black family that serves the infamous casserole.
Through the years the green bean casserole jokes have become another fun tradition that we all share as we continue to embrace the differences between our two very opposite families. Who knew that each year we would literally have comedy in a casserole!? It’s a perfect analogy for us.