|Image from the brilliant Anne Taintor|
There was a request at work for people to turn in recipes so that there could be a staff cookbook put together. This is a lovely idea, and I spent some quality time with my massive binder of magazine clippings, typing up recipes I have actually made.
Not that people in my family actually eat them.
My mother, who no longer is able to cook since she is in an assisted living facility, loves to cook. I don't. To me, an excellent supper is a can of tuna dumped over a bowl of spinach, or a chicken breast cooked in a saucepan with half a bag or froze broccoli. Cooking just means turned up noses, suspicious glances, and silently hurled recriminations. Still! The art of making a casserole seems to be a lost one, so I thought I would share the process with all you youngsters out there. Remember, if you can't make a dish with cream of mushroom soup and garnish it with tater tots, it's not really DINNER.
How to make a casserole.
Roll up sleeves and tuck dish towel into the top of your shirt. Yell at children, who are trying to put the dog down the laundry chute. Look in the cupboard for item from column 1. If anything from column 2 also presents itself, grab that. Drop on toe. Curse quietly. Open the freezer. Stare in it in desperation for a meat substance, as well as a veg if you haven’t gotten one already. Break up argument about which is better, Star Wars or High School Musical. Microwave frozen hunk of meat substance on low while preparing starch. Look in cupboard again for a sauce that won’t be entirely disgusting with your previous choices. Dump half thawed meat, veg, cooked starch and sauce in a greased casserole. Cook it for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Change clothes, start laundry, pick up toys, clean up dog mess, and cajole children into setting table. Take out casserole, top with something in a contrasting color-- Parmesan on tomato sauce, paprika on mozzarella cheese, dog kibble on Alfredo sauce. Glop onto plates. Watch children pick out all onion bits and set to side. Watch a little more of your soul die as you watch your family look as though you have served them their own foot on a plate. Contemplate your life choices. Consider taking up drinking. Realize that snorting Kool Aid mix directly from the package will not alter your consciousness. Consider joining a convent. Or the Peace Corps. Realize that you would still probably end up cooking.
If you make poor combinations, it’s not my fault. Somethings work better than others. For example, frozen potatoes, green beans, diced ham and cheese sauce work well together, as does rice, peas and carrots, chicken, and cream of chicken soup. Less successful is stuffing mix, stir fry vegetables, tuna, cheese sauce and dog kibble. Although, really, wouldn’t it serve them right?
Potatoes, frozen diced
Cream of Mushroom
Mashed potatoes (top)
stir fry vegetables
Corn bread (top)
jarred or canned goop
sweet and sour sauce