I love the cover of The Culinary Arts Institute's The Casserole Cookbook (Jackie Johnson and the Culinary Arts Institute Staff) so much that I'll let its slightly too new date (1980) slide.
Also interesting: This cover image is for He-Man Casserole.
Well, they're occasionally subversive. They couldn't dodge all the trends. I mean, it was barely past the '70s, so they still had to randomly throw canned fruit into stuff.
What I really loved, though, is that this book does have nice full-color pictures to go with a few recipes, like this big old pile of sausages.
At least the brown-and-beige pit looks kind of like a monster's mouth with its row of tortilla chip "teeth." I also love that the raw ingredients (including some dried beans that are not even part of the recipe-- just a prop for "Mexican" food, I guess!) are at the top and the accompaniments of taco sauce, chopped olives, tomatoes, and sour cream are at the bottom. It just seems weird (and not entirely safe) to have raw ground beef so close to the finished casserole and the little custard cups full of toppings.
The Taco Casserole itself initially seems fine if you're an admirer of plain old midwestern taco-mix, cheese, and lettuce-style tacos (which I am).
But then, check the instructions a little more closely (and the picture of the toppings). What's going on with the lettuce? Who wants hot lettuce baked under a layer of ground beef? Why is the lettuce not a crunchy topping, but a soggy, unwelcome addition to the casserole? Why? The brown and beige pit is scarier than it looks.
It's so much fun to check out all the weird little touches in The Casserole Cookbook. Is hot lettuce really necessary? Wouldn't "Random Sausage Pile" have been a hilarious recipe name? And shouldn't that have been the "he-man" recipe? I'm so grateful to have found a book that inspires such deep thoughts.