Recipes that won’t die

Certain recipes just won’t die.

They’re not exactly zombie recipes; they’ve never been killed. Despite periodic polling to ascertain just how many Americans truly despise the Campbell Soup Company’s 1955 recipe for “Green Bean Bake” (universally known as “the green bean casserole,” made from cooked green beans, canned mushroom soup and fried onions), an expected 20 million American homes will cook and serve it this year on Nov. 22.

These recipes aren’t Lazarus recipes —  dead for awhile, then resurrected for some reason. We have had one-pot meat stews since we were able to throw a clay pot or hammer out an iron one. Science is iffy on the commencement date, but count the cooking in thousands of years.

The recipes that refuse to die are more like Mel Brooks’ 2,000-year-old man recipes. They’ve just been around forever and will continue to be, because they are interesting and fun and delicious. They’ll never die.

Internet searches — of both the sort, on various cooking sites, of “Our Most Popular Recipes of All Time,” and those “most googled” by the general cook — turn up constants.

The surprise is the number of pastry (especially cookie and cake) recipes; it’s like starting dinner with dessert. Chocolate chip, sugar and peanut butter cookie recipes will be with us always; so will chocolate (especially so-called “Devil’s Food”), carrot and cheesecake. Recipes for brownies, apple pie and lemon meringue pie also seem ageless.

By and large, the sweet tooth isn’t as much an overbite in other countries. The “most popular recipes” — in both cooking sites and “the history of” searches — for France, Italy and Spain, to name just three, return a predominance of what we call “savory” over “sweet” preparations.