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Al dente or mushy? Green beans can be cooked either way, and both ways have their boosters. Al dente is all about the vegetable itself. Just barely cooked, it retains a fresh green garden flavor. Cooked much longer, along with hambone or fatback, and maybe including bacon woven in among them, soft green beans celebrate the felicitous pairing of pork and vegetables – a duet in which pork stars and beans sing harmony. Green bean casserole is a classic home-ec dish made with cream of mushroom soup and canned crisp-fried onions. On many Thanksgiving tables, it’s a must. It is not unusual for taverns to offer battered and fried green beans as a munchie to go with drinks or a substitute for French fries alongside a hamburger.