Dear Lord, Thank You for Casserole

And the people of the Lord gave thanks.

What is like the casserole?

Could any other dish transform tins of canned goods into a steaming meal for prairie mouths, hungry from a hard day of television viewing? Does anything match the poetry of the phrase, “Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Recipe is easily doubled.” Is there another main course as picturesque or heartwarming?

Entire generations have attained greatness by feeding solely off of casserole nectar. Worlds of cream of chicken soup have bubbled and boiled over whole chicken breasts sitting atop beds of rice or sliced roast beef as the casserole’s alchemy creates dinner and a better planet.

As I browse through my cookbook, the endless casserole variation is like a never ending music.

Oh Zucchini Casserole, oh Country Corn Bake, oh Cheese Corn Bake, oh Broccoli Corn Casserole! And the tuna! Dear, sweet, God! The Tuna Casserole, with its 3 cans of Chinese noodles, 2 cans mushroom soup, 1 package of blanched almonds, 2 cans white tuna, and 1 cup of milk. Dry yourselves, my taste buds, for the dinner hour is not nigh.

The casserole gathers canned goods to its glassy bosom, accepting them for what they are as they are combined and layered and sprinkled with corn flakes. A masterpiece of non-cooking, an exercise in the art of assembly, this is Midwestern cuisine at its finest.

Would any church potluck be complete without a steaming pan of Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole? Could the world continue to function on Monday night without a dinner of chicken enchiladas (1 cooked chicken, 1 c. shredded Taco Blend Cheese, 1 packet of Taco seasoning, Sour cream, salsa.) with its instructions to “Shred the chicken. Mix all ingredients together?”

And after being assembled into the tortillas, these proto-enchiladas will lie down on a sweet bed of glass and be smothered with equal parts enchilada sauce and cream of mushroom soup, topped with cheddar cheese in an eternal embrace that will continue deep within the digestive tract of the consumer.

In the kitchens of the Midwest, the cook’s most fearsome weapon is the 9×13 baking dish. The ammunition of choice: canned soup, cream of mushroom or chicken. With these tools, the chef is ready to face a ravenous family, to fight the devil with cheesy potatoes at a church gathering, and entertain the in-laws on the night of the big game.

When almost every ingredient is birthed from a can or a jar, when the objective of the dish is to combine it so thoroughly that one only tastes hot chicken-y, tuna-y, or beefy mush, when an complete meal can be eaten out of a mug, is there any way to go wrong?

Let the casserole state of mind cheese its way between your neurons. Let the open-and-pour mentality soothe your nerves and line your arteries. Life should be a steaming dish full of something that bubbles. It matters not what it is.

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30 thoughts on “Dear Lord, Thank You for Casserole

  1. This is hilarious! Cream of Mushroom Soup seems to be the refrain. I knew it was used in some casseroles, but I had no idea it was used that much. Too funny.

  2. […] is the concluding post of the Miracles of Midwestern Cooking […]

  3. artzent says:

    This is classic Snot Back! LOL I love it!!!!!

  4. After today’s post and now this one from yesterday, I’m becoming concerned about you… Is your forced fed mid westernized diet becoming a serious threat to your health and well being? Take two jars of Teddie Super Chunky Old Fashioned All Natural Peanut Butter, and call me in the morning.

  5. So true! I grew up in the Midwest, and about half of my mom’s recipes were casseroles that involved creamed soups! You realize later that although they are easy and tasty, they are more food-like than food…

  6. Roly says:

    Casserole is the nectar of the Gods 🙂

  7. cupcakeprincess0402 says:

    It’s so beautiful…it made my mouth cry!

  8. kansaspotato says:

    Tator tot casserole is delicious. yummy casseroles.

  9. LWSpotts says:

    Oooohhhh, I love casseroles. 😀

  10. girlforgetful says:

    Let us not forget the mana of the pot pie, a casserole in pie form.

  11. tomwisk says:

    Casseroles bring back thoughts of my mom when she went through her casserole phase. Every Wednesday she’d whip up a delightful dish and we’d revel in its creaminess. I fell away. Culinary Arts taught me to make sauces and eschew canned veggies. There are times, when the moon is high I revert and make Poor Man’s Tuna Noodle. I pkg ramen noodles, cooked, ! can mixed veg 1 can tuna, drained and ! can cream of mushroom. Mix all the ingredients, stir in flavor packet, top with bread crumbs. Bake until bubbly.

    • edrevets says:

      Well it’s got to be bubbly. There’s no other way. I also love the innovation of the Midwest when it comes to ramen noodles. So many different ways to prepare them! You would never have known if you just followed the instructions.

  12. sillyliss says:

    Oh my sweet Christian god, I am hungry now.

  13. Addie says:

    Casserole is the blessing of mothers everywhere.

    • edrevets says:

      Why stop at mothers? It’s the blessing of children, of pets, of neighborhood associations, of lifeguard unions too! It touches everyone!

  14. Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole is a universal constant, an archetype that has a place in every mythos.

    • edrevets says:

      So much great literature explores this uniquely complex topic. What other response could we have to the Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole than thanks?

  15. Andrew says:

    I hate making breakfast, and then having to take the time to mash it and mix it together. So I love breakfast casseroles. Especially when eaten out of a mug.

  16. forsarap says:

    Omg so funny! hahahahahahahahahahha ewwwwww. lol

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