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Mike Polk investigates: Why is green bean casserole Ohio's favorite Thanksgiving side dish?

Come on, Ohio!

OHIO, USA — Welcome everyone to “Come On, Ohio,” a segment in which I, 3News' Mike Polk Jr.,  try to encourage my home state to stop embarrassing me in various ways. In this episode, we will address why Ohioans love green bean casserole so much? 

If you find yourself a fan of this interesting dish, you’re probably from Ohio... and also, gross.

The website zippia.com recently used Google Trends to establish the favorite Thanksgiving side dish of all 50 states and it turns out, the Buckeye State is Goo-Goo for the green bean casserole.

Now, we can all have our own individual opinions about green bean casserole, a dish that I’ll remind everyone, is made by combining beans, milk, onions, and canned cream of mushroom soup, which sounds like a dish eaten out of desperation during The Great Depression by boxcar hobos after being warmed over a barrel fire. But people actually eat it today.

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Some people like it. I myself don’t care for it.

No one in my family really does. But my Mom still makes green bean casserole every year out of some odd sense of ritual. We don’t want her to feel bad so we all make sure that she sees us put a little bit on our plates, then we move it around a some, making sure it doesn’t come into contact with the good food, and then we throw it away when we’re done. It’s long-running, discreet, Polk holiday ritual and I’m sorry you had to find out about it this way Mom, but I really thought it was for the greater good.

And with everything else, Peg ya knock it out of the park! Seriously. The way you brined the bird last year? Just stop. You’re a legend, Mom, love you! I’m still very much a dead man.

Look, I know some people like green bean casserole and that’s fine, by why does it have to represent our whole state? Why couldn’t we have gone with some side dish that we can all agree on like mashed potatoes? That was the favorite of these 10 more reasonable states. Or how about the very respectable Mac and cheese? The favorite side dish of most of the eastern seaboard for some reason. Or stuffing! As you can see, New England is bananas about stuffing, and so are Alabama and Louisiana, but of course they have to call it “dressing” just to make sure no one forgets how charming and Southern they are. We see you guys! We get it. You do your own thing.

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Deepening the mystery, Ohio wasn’t alone in choosing Green Bean Casserole as their go-to Turkey Day side dish. States like Texas, Idaho, and Michigan all made the same regrettable, devil’s bargain. Hard to figure out what the common thread among those states could possibly be, but it is nice to know that moving forward, if anyone ever asks us to name something that Ohio, Michigan, Idaho, and Texas have in common, we’ll finally have a definitive answer.

Of course, I suppose, to a degree, we should be thankful because it could have been even worse. As bad as green bean casserole is we could have been like Arkansas whose top Thanksgiving side dish is, and I kid you not, WHITE GRAVY.

Which course this begs the question, if gravy is a side dish, do we even want to know what they put on it?

So, special thanks to Arkansas for once again, heroically swooping in to prevent our state from being the absolute worst at something.

But that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for the green bean casserole Ohio. I’m still disappointed. I know this might seem trivial to you but believe it or not, these silly designations have a way of sticking around and we’ve been burnt before. And if you doubt that, why don’t you pour yourself a nice tall glass of Ohio’s official beverage, Tomato Juice. I am dead serious.

We’ve got to be better than this.

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