Let’s continue our rap on casseroles, shall we? ‘Tis the month to knit dish rags, after all.

Yesterday on Talk of the Nation, Neal Conan interviewed James Lileks, author of the new book, Gastroanomalies: Questionable Culinary Creations from the Golden Age of American Cookery. Inside, Lileks has collected some of the most egregious crimes against the palette, a noxious assemblage of egg whips, casseroles and mayonnaise-moistened goodies perpetrated on American cooks by Big Processed Food.

The best part of the interview was when Lileks deployed the word, “oleagenous,” to describe the consistency of many of these dishes. Oleagenous! So onomatopoeic. Made me clap my hands with joy.

Many of us grew up on this food, so I’m not about to diss it. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever made my husband as happy as when early in our relationship I presented him with a piping hot, oleagenous tuna-noodle bake. Tucking in, we both remembered how the gummy noodles and salty canned fish complemented the crunchy potato-chip crust and bubbly, melted cheese topping. Salt. Fat. White flour. What’s not to like?

I’ve received many fabulous suggestions on convalescence cuisine for my friend. (See yesterday’s comments.) And, in spite of my current nostalgia for casseroles will probably opt for lasagna and a soup of some kind. But with the weather here, a dusting of snow on the ground and a nip in the air, I can't stop thinking about the good old casserole. Diana kindly sent me to the Campbell Soup web site and now I’m obsessed.

Poor Mitch. This summer it was raw food. Now casseroles.

Mmmmm. Mmmmmm. Good.



Comments (3) -

November 28. 2007 10:41


Ha!  I seem to remember you turning up your nose at the sight of mayonnaise on my called it "sheep grease" I believe.  Smile

John |

November 28. 2007 12:07


I made this one twice so far . . and it's absolutely delicious.  My favorite rice to use is the Risotto, Italian-Style rice.  It's the one that comes in the square-ish plastic container, red label and screw top.

Leslie |

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