Monday, April 26, 2010

The Object of My Desire: All the Dish

I can only imagine the lively conversations this old Corning Ware casserole dish has heard over the years at church socials, family gatherings, holiday festivities and bridge games. This pretty dish belonged to my friend Eleanor's mother, and she passed it on to me, knowing of my fondness for a good old casserole, even if I talk about them more than I actually eat them! There's something comforting about the idea of a meal in a single dish -- something that comes piping hot from the oven and goes straight to the table. When the meal is finished, a lid just covers the leftovers and its whisked off to the fridge for safe keeping until it's time to be reheated for a midnight snack or a quick lunch.

When I was a kid, my mom had several casseroles ready to produce upon a special occasion. One was a green rice casserole, made, of course, with white rice, a mixture of broccoli and probably a can of cream of mushroom soup. There was yet another delicious broccoli casserole that had many of the same ingredients, minus the rice, but was sprinkled with margarine dipped saltine cracker crumbs. We also had our share of tuna casseroles, layered with egg noodles or elbow pasta and topped with pieces of stale bread that in the oven turned into crunchy croutons.

I remember the excitement of covered dish dinners that always displayed a variety of creative casseroles. Whether it was a Christmas party with the faculty at my dad's elementary school or an Easter dinner laid in the woods by my grandmother's church, the delights were mind boggling. There was usually a sort of bean casserole with canned onion rings on top or maybe a layered bacon and peas concoction. And for convenience sake, I've seen an ambrosia made from fruit cocktail, mandarin oranges and shredded coconut or a three-bean salad make their arrivals in a Corning dish, even though neither are technically casseroles.

Some people turn their noses at the thought of a casserole, but I can assure you, I've served them up to the fanciest and finickiest folks in New York City and there's hardly ever a leftover.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

The Elegant Thrifter

8 comments:

  1. I think it is such a warm memory food, who can resist? Love this post. Wouldn't a retro cookbook be a blast?
    Hugs, Sonya

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  2. I love Casseroles and meatloaf! The perfect 'throw it in the oven on 350 for an hour, so you can be with your guest instead of being chained to the stove during a party' Meal. : )

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  3. Just last night I served with the very same dish! HA!
    Lovely post!

    XX
    Victoria

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  4. Here in the South, casseroles are a food group all to their own. No self respecting Texas woman ever shows up for anything without a casserole that just has to include cream of mushroom soup and cheese whiz!
    Debbie

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  5. I too love a good casserole. I do draw the line at jello salad. :)

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  6. I love casseroles! My Mom served us many (I recognize many from your descriptions)and I still love them. Church dinners were the best! Great post.

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  7. Thank you for all the kind comments. I am hungry already.

    I just have to add for AuroraSuzette, that I, too, do NOT like Jello...seriously...but I have forced myself to serve it all prettily molded here in New York City...and that, too, disappears immediately. Once I made a crock pot full of Velveeta cheese, Ro*Tel tomatoes, some hamburger and provided Doritos to dip into for nachos....and as much as the fancy folks squished their faces....they gobbled it up as well!!

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  8. Mmmmmm. Okay, I'm looking up a casserole to blog this week now! I love thinking of the stories of my pyrex, malamine and whatever dish that has lived a life ahead of me.

    By the way. I tried a pineapple upside down cake for the first time last night. I can only imagine how delish yours is --- any chance you could offer up your secret recipe?

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