What Is a Casserole?

A short history of this classic American one-pot meal

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

The casserole became a quintessential American dish during 1950s and '60s. It was the ultimate comfort food that housewives would cook for their families in homes throughout the United States. With the emerging market for Tupperware and lightweight glassware in the mid-20th century, casseroles (both the name of the baking dish and dish itself) became the perfect dinner meal. The popularity of the casserole declined in the next few decades, but recently there has been a resurgence of this American staple dinner, most likely because of its convenience. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Darice)

Getting down to the basics, a casserole is any food that is cooked and served in the same dish. They are typically baked and can consist of proteins like beef, chicken, or fish, a variety of vegetables, or almost anything else you can think of. They usually include a starchy binder such as flour, pasta, or potatoes, and are often topped with cheese or breadcrumbs. Liquids such as stock, wine, milk, or juice can also be added once the dish is assembled. Then, it is cooked uncovered in an oven.

Popular American casseroles are green bean, potato gratin, tuna, taco, and mushroom, though essentially almost any ingredients can be put into a casserole. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/dolescum)

With the abundance of different recipes for casserole, it is quickly becoming the "go-to" dish for families all across America once again. It’s easy and delicious, and sure to be a family favorite!

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