I love a casserole, is that wrong? If it’s wrong I don’t wanna be right. I love it. Just throw all that shit in there together and bake it up. Boom. Food for days. You wanna talk about “meal prep”? This is meal prep INCARNATE. Midwestern grandmas have been meal prepping since at least 1907.
Tuna casserole, green bean casserole, and egg/breakfast casserole (I recently made one WITH GRITS) have obviously always been my favorites. But the appeal of a casserole goes beyond the shine of the MVPs in its category. The beauty of a casserole comes from its simplicity, the ease with which it can be prepared, the fact that you bake it inside the oven where the heat is safely kept away from you instead of cooking it over an open flame, and its ability to last as multiple delicious meals for at least a week.
The ingredients are simple! Just a couple of things! Most of them you don’t even have to prepare, YOU JUST THROW THEM IN. “Just throwing things in” is incredibly appealing to me. I hate cooking. It’s not fun or relaxing and by the time it’s ready I want to take a nap and I’m not in the right state of mind to even enjoy eating what I’ve just slaved over and gone out of my way to prepare. But casseroles help ease that feeling of disgust and aversion toward cooking. They’re like, “Hello friend! I am simple! JUST THROW THAT SHIT IN AND I WILL DO THE REST.”
Thank you, casseroles.
In addition to hating cooking overall, I am terrified of fire and extreme heat in any form. Fire KILLS people, destroys property, and is an ever-present danger that has been lurking around every corner waiting to claim us and everything we love since the beginning of time. I live in constant fear of the perils of fire and I’m not sorry.
Baking is okay, because the heat is contained in the oven. I still get scared and often do get small burns when I have to take things in and out, but the cumulative exposure to fire during a baking sesh is way less.
AND CASSEROLES ARE BAKED.
Most importantly, when you make a casserole it contains many servings! Like usually at least 6 or 8, if I have any idea of the math of it. Which like, don’t quote me on that. But it’s great that you just have to cook ONE TIME and you get enough food for MULTIPLE TIMES so later in your week or month or life when you really, REALLY don’t feel like cooking anything you can whip out the casserole to save the day.
Last year I made “Amy’s Hot Dish” when Amy Klobuchar was in the presidential race because I saw it on some website and I wanted to try it. I had never eaten or even heard of “hot dish” before so it was an exciting anthropological moment for me. There is some debate about “hot dish” vs “casserole” and what each one means but in the end they’re essentially the same in that they are both AMAZING. It’s worth noting that the sacred ancestral food of my forebears and the great and powerful Garfield, lasagna, is also a casserole.
Yes, it’s a casserole, calm down.
It’s some delicious shit all mixed together and congealed into a rectangular shape that yields multiple servings.
And I love a casserole.