RECIPE: Grandma Casserole
I teach high school English, which I readily admit is challenging but incredibly fun. Earlier in the year, while I was discussing Anne Tyler’s Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant with my seniors, I had them write about foods that were representative of their families and then share with the class. I also wrote a paper, which I do when I require students to share personal stories with the class. In writing my essay, I came to a grand realization about my family and food…foods that define my family are those that are a big mess, seem gross, yet are delicious.
I called my mom to share this news with her and she just laughed at me, as she often does when I have grand realizations. I gave her a specific example: Grandma Casserole. OK, it’s not a casserole made out of grandmas, although I make that joke every time I cook it.
Grandma Casserole is something that has been passed down from my Meemaw (my dad’s mom) to my dad and now down to me and my sister. I have no idea what the origins of it are, other than my grandma made it for my dad when he was growing up in Iowa. My sister calls it Daddy Casserole, as it was the one thing my dad would actually cook when we were little. I’ve made it for everyone I’ve lived with and I present it to them with the warning that it looks disgusting, yet is strangely delicious. My current roommate claims that it is better out of the oven, but I love it at second day leftovers (she also puts hot sauce, usually Cholula, on it, which I find to be sacrilege). I use low-fat, low-sodium soups, but that’s the only concession I’m willing to make. I’ve considered using ground turkey, but I’ve never ventured that far. My mom, who is always trying to cook healthy, even says that you can’t mess with the original recipe. My dad adds that making biscuits to go with it is a requirement.
Rating: 4 out of 5 wine glasses, mostly because this is my personal taste and also we need some sort of vegetable or something healthy to go with it.