Saturday, September 27, 2014

Bizarro-Chinese and Hatted Casseroles

The nip of fall in the air makes my mind drift to Silver Shamrock masks that will turn people's heads into snakes and bugs (the plot of Halloween III for those who aren't familiar with it), but it's probably more common for people's thoughts to go to hearty casseroles.... And since casseroles go with the theme of my blog better than malevolent magical masks, I'll go with that.

Today's casseroles are from my favorite recent rare find-- "The [Columbus] Dispatch Cookbook" newspaper supplement from October 14, 1979. Today we're looking at entries from the "Penny-Pinching Main Dishes" section, and I love them for their questionably "ethnic" '70s style.

First up: Chinese Eggs. If you're imagining some variation of the delicacy known as the preserved egg or the century egg, then you are seriously overestimating the authenticity of "Chinese" cooking in '70s Ohio.

I guess the vegetables and rice are what is supposed to make this Chinese? Maybe? But putting them it into a casserole seasoned with paprika makes the authenticity questionable at best. What really puts it over the top in my book is the cheese topping! The absence of cheese is, at least in my mind, a major feature of Chinese cooking. A cheese-topped casserole is the anti-Chinese meal as far as I'm concerned... so maybe this is Bizarro-Chinese?

This next recipe is probably at least closer to the cuisine it is supposed to represent. (It would be hard to get LESS representative, though, so that's not saying much.)

Okay, I seriously doubt that canned tomato soup is a big ingredient in Mexican cuisine, but at least this features chili powder and a corn derivative. It's not calling for, say, ginger or gefilte fish. I mostly picked it because I love the name: Mexican hat. I guess the cornbread on top is supposed to be a hat. The thought of a casserole wearing a jaunty little hat is just making my day, so I will leave you with that image. Enjoy!


  1. Mmm, shortening! The cornerstone to any nutritious casserole (and yes I did modify that line from Pulp Fiction) :D