Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to get our grub on, we listen up.
Let’s take a holiday quiz.
Casseroles are ________________ (fill in the blank).
A: The best thing about the holidays; a 9-by-13-inch baking dish is the world’s greatest piece of cooking equipment
B: The punch line to almost any joke
C: Both A and B
While you consider the psychological implications to your answer, here’s a look at some major advances in the casserole world.
Casseroles (The Restaurant)
Yes, there’s an entire restaurant devoted to the genre. And yes, it’s in Atlanta. As the name suggests, the 6-month-old spot will put just about anything in a casserole including their version of the classic green beans & fried onion dish (warning to anyone who is devoted to the all-can version: Casseroles specifically notes that they use fresh green beans and housemade creamy sauce). And they know how to celebrate the holidays. Their Thanksgiving Casserole layered whole berry cranberry sauce with stuffing, roasted turkey and gravy.
Casseroles (The Record Breaker)
If you’re a casserole lover looking to break a record, you have a hefty challenge on your hands. Rob Blatt tasted 30 casseroles in one minute in Brooklyn in October 2010. And if you think the term ‘casserole’ might have been used loosely, think again. The rules were as follows: each casserole must be baked; each casserole must contain two main ingredients and a binding agent; must taste at least one spoonful of each. How many of your casseroles pass that test?
Casseroles (The Party)
Where would Rob Blatt have found 30 casseroles to taste in one minute? At the Crazy Casserole party, hosted by Emily Farris, at Brooklyn’s Brooklyn Kitchen. (I bet you didn’t figure Brooklyn to be casserole central.) Farris is well qualified to throw this party: she literally wrote the book on the subject, Casserole Crazy, in 2008.
Casseroles (The Fashion Statement)
Austin’s Casserole Queens, Sandy Pollock and Crystal Cook, might have lost the chicken pot pie war to Bobby Flay on his Throwdown show. But they still have a newly published cookbook, The Casseroles Queens: Put Some Lovin’ In Your Oven, and huge love for all the kitschy connotations that casseroles might evoke. They even have a retro polka-dotted dress named for them: the suggested accessories are a vintage apron, kitten heels and a golden pendant.
Casseroles (The Scariest)
I’m sure many people have their own horror stories to tell, and I’d love to hear them. In the meantime, please appreciate what Paula Deen did when she combined bananas, ham, bacon, cheese, potato chips, white bread, eggs, heavy cream and butter to make her Cheesy Ham and Banana Casserole.
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Casseroles are the best!! Being a busy working mom, it's great (and easy) to cook a few big meals on the weekends, then use leftovers in casseroles for quick, no-fuss, delicious meals during the week.
When I married my husband, he told me, "I don't care what you cook, just don't EVER serve me a casserole". I was stunned. No casserole? Wow!! That would mean no lasagna, no pans of stuffed cabbage rolls, no baked ziti, etc. So for years, he got protein, vegetables and a starch on the side. BORING.... Well I made a pan of stuffed cabbage rolls for when my family was coming in for the holidays. He LOVED them and asked why I had never made them before. I told him that he had said no casseroles... he said "That's not a casserole!" I finally asked him to define "casserole".. By his definition..... His mother took all of the days left overs and scooped them into a bowl and placed it in the freezer. Every day she added to the pile in the bowl. On Monday, she took the bowl out, thawed it all out together, mixed with mayo or some kind of cream soup, put potato chips on top and baked it. If you were lucky you got cheese on top. This is what his mother called "casserole". O M G!!!! I was horrified. NO WONDER he never ate casserole. Random old food, piled up and baked with mystery sauce... It made me gag. Poor thing.... He now ejoys his new definitions (plural) of casserole.
I make scalloped potatoes, does that count as a casserole?? Probably not.
If you put ham in them it does!!
The picture shown is called "Tagliatelle Gratin" and is a royalty-free image from Getty Images:
I couldn't find a corresponding recipe, but this one sounds like it might be close:
I'm shocked that not everybody loves casserole! They are easy (15 minutes or less for prep, 30 minutes in the oven), they are econimical (use up left overs or stretch out meat with cheaper ingredients), they can be healthy (skip the cheese, double the veggies, and use a fat free cream soup and no bread crumbs), and they are grt for lunch the next day! It's the perfect meal for the busy, single, or economically depressed. I'm two of the three, and I make casseroles 2 or 3 times a week. YUM!
I always thought that green bean casserole thing was a joke. People actually eat that?
Me too! I'm Canadian and always thought it was a gag and then I saw it in real life, with these weird crunchy onion snacks around the edges? OMG it's VILE lol so gross!! Just plain green beans are delish!
I was raised on casseroles (among other things) and I see nothing wrong with them. Love the idea that the above is capers and not peas.
yum. my all time favorite: chicken/ritz poppyseed casserole.
My mom made a crookneck and cream of celery casserole cooked to a Ritz cracker covered mush. I still shudder thinking about it.
The writer fails to mention that the casserole is known as a "hotdish" in Minnesota (and perhaps other parts nearby). The joke is that people who use the word "casserole" are a little too uppity, or maybe even Episcopalian! Hotdishes rule!
And covered dish in other parts
I was going to say the same thing re "hot dish". To me, being Minnesotan, saying casserole just doesn't sound right. It's hot dish all the way!
Second the motion on "hot dish."
As a fellow Minnesotan, I completely concur!!! Casserole is the name of the pan you bake a hotdish in!
Cheesy Ham and Bananas?? Yuk.
Recipe please for the one pictured here. ???
It looks like either chicken or tuna casserole. Noodles, mushroom soup, peas, and either chicken or tuna, you can add some cheese and what ever seasoning makes you happy.
you saw that picture and actually want to eat that?
Looks good to me. I think it's fettucine noodles, peas, bacon and I swear I see cauliflower, but I'm probably wrong on that. And of course, it's all bound together with some kind of canned soup. Hmmm... After another look, maybe it IS the classic tuna-noodle casserole.
They look like capers, not peas.
Nope, definitely peas.
I concur, those are definitely peas. As for some of the comments about green bean casserole being nasty, like my gramma always used to say, try it, you'll like it.
Interesting, because while it's exactly the same picture, that certainly doesn't look like the right recipe for it. It doesn't mention peas, but does mention green peppers (really? in a tuna-noodle casserole?). I only see "chow mein" noodles mentioned, and to me, those are those crispy string things that aren't really noodles at all. The picture and the recipe just don't match, in my opinion.
Yes! what is the recipe for the pictured casserole?
BEST CASEROLE EVER, EVER:
I have met no one that didn't like this: 1 box Rice a Roni long grain and wild rice mix, cooked. I can diced green chiles. 8 oz of sour cream. Jack and cheddar cheese shredded.
Mix rice, chiles and sour cream. Layer in a casserole dish, layer with cheese, repeat the layers. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 – 30 minutes until cheese bubbles. It's FABULOUS!!
Add a can of drained diced tomatoes.
You've met one! ugh that sounds disgusting LOL but more power to you if you actually like it, at least it sounds cheap and easy
Enough with the trivia – – what is the recipe for the dish in the picture????
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