Today the word "Casserole" is used to describe a
cooking method or the dish (container) used to make a casserole. The
word itself seems to have been an English adaptation of the old
French word "Casse" which meant ladle or dish with the
English addition of "role" which simply means to
"take the form or likings of". In today's Parisian French
the word "Casse" means break. So to drop your glass
casserole dish may render it "Casse'd" (Cah-say'd). Laugh,
that was supposed to be funny. When any of our Cajun folk have had
too much to drink that's one word we use to describe their
Early history has it that the Casserole took on the form of a
dish in which multiple ingredients were combined and cooked in an
oven in a clay pot. The method would provide an "all in
one" meal in many instances and would consist of a meat
combined with a filler such as rice.
In the 20's and 30's when money was tight the casserole was a way
to stretch leftovers much as a soup did. It was also a great method
of using somewhat bland vegetables like squash and potatoes and
blending meat flavors to develop a delicious and filling meal;
filling being the most important.
In the 1950's it was popular because it would free the housewife
from lengthy "stove standing" and would allow her to tend
to the house duties and still prepare the family's meal. The
availability of newly introduced glassware made it even more of a
The casserole is still popular now in the south especially
since we cling to old ways and stretching food is just a smart thing
to do. Besides that, how can you go wrong with a crab meat and
In short, the casserole begins with a base or meat. That meat can
be pork, beef, wild game, fish or shell fish.
Next it involves the filler which can be rice, bread, pasta,
potatoes and most any of the squashes. Casseroles can lean to the
sweet or savory styles and just depends on what your base
ingredients are going to be.
If you're not much of a casserole chef do yourself a favor and
research some of the great casserole combinations out there.
If you want to learn more about the history of casseroles you can
check this website out.