Dorcas Bates Reilly, NN, was honored with Alpha Sigma Alpha’s most distinguished award, the Recognition of Eminence Award. Mrs. Reilly will be presented with this award on July 19, 2008 at the Alpha Sigma Alpha National Convention & Leadership Conference being held in Albuquerque, NM. Mrs. Reilly is one of only nine members in Alpha Sigma Alpha history to win this award. The Recognition of Eminence Award honors alumnae members whose professional or community achievements received recognition outside the realm of Alpha Sigma Alpha.
Regarded as the “mother of comfort food,” Dorcas Reilly led the team that created the Green Bean Casserole in 1955, while working as a staff member in the Home Economics department of the Campbell Soup Company. Dorcas grew up in Camden, NJ, and in 1944 became a member of the Nu Nu Chapter at Drexel University, PA, where she received her bachelor of science in home economics.
She began her career at Campbell Soup Company in 1949, where she was one of two full-time staff members in the department. During her time in the Campbell’s kitchen, she also had a hand in the creation of hundreds of dishes, some of them are tomato soup meatloaf, tuna noodle casserole and Sloppy Joelike “souperburgers.” But she is still best known today as the “Grandmother” of the Green Bean Casserole.
She says the inspiration for the Green Bean Casserole 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. Like all great recipes, the casserole requires minimal number of ingredients (just five), doesn’t take much time, and can be customized to fit a wide range of tastes. In 2002, Mrs. Reilly appeared at the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron, OH, to donate the original copy of the recipe to the museum.
The nowyellowed recipe card takes its place alongside Enrico Fermi’s invention of the first controlled nuclear reactor and Thomas Alva Edison’s two greatest hits: the light bulb and the phonograph.