Made and missed casseroles: Why are there so many obituaries to commemorate this precious dish? Seattle Times

2021-12-20 07:00:54 By : Mr. Mark chen

On Christmas Eve last year, Lynda Finch cooked a hodgepodge for her family in her Department 56 Christmas Village and mistletoe tablecloths for her family to graze the next day. That night, Finch prepared mung bean salad, mashed potatoes, stuffed mushrooms, bacon-wrapped appetizers and Chile relleno casserole, went to bed and died in his sleep at the age of 73.

Her obituary, published in Bakersfield, California, in January last year, tells the story, including the following details: "She...printed out a recipe for a chili sauce casserole and placed it next to the oven. The last sentence of her recipe The words just say "YUM!""

From March 2020 to October 2021, US newspapers and online obituary platform published 430 obituaries citing casseroles​​. In addition to Finch, there is also Affie Spivey from Belvidere, North Carolina. She “rarely misses the opportunity to welcome a newborn or comfort her family, and will deliver a batch of muffins or homemade casseroles.” There is also a gift from St. George, Utah. Constance Bradbury (Constance Bradbury), she likes casserole baking so much that her family asked: "In memory of her, make casserole for your loved ones or those in need instead of flowers. "

From 2019 to 2020, the number of obituaries on mentioning casserole increased by 43%. The increase in the number of deaths in the country must be the cause of the increase. Three-quarters of the obituaries mentioned that the casserole subjects were 75 years of age or older, and this group accounted for more than half of the country's COVID-19 deaths. But the obituary also hints at what we have lost: shared meals and people who cook.

"Obituary is our last public memory of a person. In a society where we value the individual and everyone should be equal, how we remember the individual is very important," said Janice Hume, an obituary scholar and professor of journalism. University of Georgia. "Then, in general, these memories tell us something about who we are."

While reading each and recording the subject’s gender, hometown, and casserole heritage, a portrait began to appear. 88% are women, and 7 of them are identified as "Queens of Casserole". According to Brooks’ obituary, tuna and broccoli are the most commonly remembered casseroles. The former is not always popular. Evelyn Brooks of Edmond, Oklahoma is based on "Mystery Casserole". , Which means that its composition is still unknown" one of the four mothers who are famous. In Oklahoma.

Most (but not all) subjects are white. However, searching for obituaries with macaroni and cheese or enchilada (other names for casseroles) can more abundantly represent American chefs. Before her death at the age of 86, Shirley Seals' “cooking is unparalleled-especially her macaroni and cheese,” read her obituary in the Detroit Free Press.

Jessica Galdiano, who was 77 years old, wrote in her obituary on "The Sacramento Bee" that she "is famous for her excellent chicken enchiladas, Colorado, Chile. Well-known and one of the best tortilla makers around". Her son Javier Silva said in an interview that she hosts enchilada parties on special occasions once or twice a year. "This is a big event. You would call and say, "Hey, mom is making enchiladas. "Everyone is here-there are 20 or 30 people, friends and family for life."

Among the 49 people who mentioned casseroles in their obituaries were John Verduin Jr., a member of the Light Meal Club in Carbondale, Illinois, and a 92-year-old from Syracuse, New York. Vito Scigliuto, famous for his melanzana casserole (imagine he pronounced "Mulin John" with a strong accent).

But according to Hume, women are remembered for their family and service to others in history. This is the sweet spot of casserole lovers. "It's not that [women] won't like it or it's negative, but we will remember that people's gender bias is intact," Hume said.

The women remembered for their casserole are mothers, caregivers, and volunteers. They navigated into the workplace full-time—take Louisville’s 91-year-old Doris Colvin as an example, “an independent woman made the best broccoli casserole in the world” and “the first Louisville title insurance company” Women Leading the Accounting Department", her obituary in The Courier Magazine. The casserole—prepared quickly, economically, impromptu and pleasing to the public—helps these busy women support their families and continue their lives.

Willie Morris was born in rural Alabama in 1937. She is a country chef and owns a farm and vegetable garden at her disposal. In addition to her duties as a church elder, a loyal voting worker, and a supervisor of the Helen Keller School, Talladega County natives can also "make a'potato pie,' a pot of condiments, or a pumpkin casserole without thinking. ," She read the Daily Home obituary.

Quentin Morris, the youngest of her five children, can’t remember that his mother used to refer to recipes or recipes, when his wife tried to replicate a pumpkin casserole—yellow squash, onions, cream of mushroom soup, The combination of Velveeta and egg with Ritz biscuit toppings—"It's not the same," he said in an interview.

Betty Gulbranson, a single mother in Yakima Valley at the age of 87, described her as a product of the Great Depression in her obituary. "Betty is always saving and frugal," her obituary read. "She won the title of'Container Lady' because she collected a large but well-organized butter, cool whip and luncheon meat bucket... She is also a master of stretching meals, turning leftovers into delicious casseroles, soups, A feat of omelet and other delicacies."

Gul Branson feeds her family between DIY home renovations, dancing with girlfriends at night, and sending children to extracurricular activities. Her leisurely repertoire relies heavily on creamy mushroom soup and she cuts from the back of food packaging. Recipes under. "When she started to work in retail and had three children, she had to take shortcuts," said her daughter Angelard, who remembers her mother's tuna noodle casserole and the "gut bomb" beef that Girard's sons are now making. Potato casserole.

Food has never been Mary Hendrick's focus, "but it played a role in bringing people together," said daughter Janet Clark. "She may realize that food is a tool that can be used."

As a performer and a civil rights advocate in Jackson, Mississippi, Hendrick and her husband, local pediatrician Jim, helped start a dinner club where white and black couples will entertain each other in their homes. In the summer of 1961, she joined a group of well-dressed church ladies who gave sandwiches to free riders who were jailed. Visiting dignitaries, professors, and friends of friends formed an almost uninterrupted team, usually going to her home without prior notice. "As soon as people came, she put them away and fed them," Clark said.

A regular item of these dinners is Hendrick’s signature sweet potato casserole, recorded in Jackson’s Junior League cookbook, adopted by families throughout the city, and remembered in her Clarion-Ledger obituary. But after Hendrick was 99 years old and died of complications from COVID-19, her daughters discovered that their mother had copied a casserole recipe from a friend, and her family had been annoyed for years. "They never said anything directly to us, but as we all know, my mother has won praise for Clara Cavite's recipes," Clark said. "We were stunned."

Patricia Janvrin's casserole heritage is less shameful and more like an inside joke. "Although she was very accomplished in the kitchen, her only obvious failure was to follow Total Casserole's recipe (hopefully a mystery to Google), telling us that recipes are guidelines, not gospels," the Greenville News reported. Janvrin's obituary wrote.

The mother of three teaches each of her sons to cook Lithuanian specialties, such as hearty bacon potato kugillis. At Christmas, she makes marzipan and hard candies. Janvrin even hand-rolled pasta in the evening on weekdays. She also served as a butcher, breaking down every side of beef and pork.

But one night, she mixed a few cups of Total cereal, sausages, eggs, and other ingredients lost due to time and memory. “It tasted like cardboard,” recalled her son Jeff Jenflin. "We don't have a lot of money. We didn't waste anything. My dad tried to convince us that it was edible. In the end, he even gave up." This meal was when this prudent domestic dog refused to eat casserole. It became a legend.

How does a dish become a symbol of life so that it becomes the ultimate narrative by itself? For Janvrin, this is a disaster among a host of delicious dishes. Some casseroles, such as Hendrick's/Cavett's, are really special. For Willie Morris, repetition has been incorporated into the taste memories of her children. For most people, the act of making and sharing casseroles is a manifestation of love, and now it is mourning.

Linda Vinci’s 1,508-word epic obituary tells the story of a matriarch, outstanding genealogist, motorhome lover, avid Christmas decorator and her unforgettable last meal. Last Christmas, despite their upset, the Vinci family followed Linda's instructions to leave in the oven. They finished the plate she prepared for them.

"We eat that kind of food all day," said Michael Fincher, who is the middleman between her three sons. "I really believe this is the last gift she gave us. We won't just watch it be wasted."

Hatchett is the writer and senior editor of Plate magazine and the host of the casserole-themed podcast Cream of Caroline.

Activity time: 35 minutes | Total time: 1 hour and 20 minutes

On December 24, 2020, Lynda Finch (Lynda Finch) spent the entire day cooking for her family’s Christmas dinner. Among the dishes she prepared was a homemade Chilean relleno casserole, topped with layers of cumin beef, cheddar cheese, eggs, and canned poblano peppers—this is what she lives in Bakersfield, California An ingredient that is easily available in grocery stores. She stuffed the unbaked casserole into the refrigerator and left the recipe on the countertop next to the oven.

That night, Linda died in her sleep. Her family gathered at Christmas and now it is for mourning rather than celebration. Although they are upset, they have finished baking, heating and tasting the last dish Linda made for them. "I really believe this is the last gift she gave us," said Michael Fincher, who is the middleman between the three sons.

This recipe can easily be halved. If canned poblanos are difficult to trace, roast and process fresh poblanos (see note). This will increase the preparation time by about 25 minutes. Canned chopped green chilies work at a critical juncture, but will not produce the same layering effect.

Advance: Unbaked casseroles can be assembled, covered tightly and refrigerated for up to two days. Leave it on the countertop for about 30 minutes to get rid of the chill. Then, follow the instructions to bake.

Storage precautions: The remaining casserole can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Where to buy: Canned poblanos can be found on the Mexican market and online

1 pound ground beef, preferably a 90/10 mix

1 cup (4 ounces) chopped yellow onion

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 (27 1/2 ounce) can whole poblano peppers, drained (can replace 6 large fresh poblano peppers; see note)

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Place the grill in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.

In a large saucepan, cook the beef and onions over medium high heat, break the meat with a wooden spoon, and fry the beef until it starts to become crispy, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef mixture to a medium bowl, leaving as much fat as possible in the pan. Season the mixture with cumin, 3/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper.

Spread butter or fat from beef on a 9-inch square baking pan. Gently remove the stems and seeds from the poblanos, then open the peppers so that the pulp lies flat. Align the bottom of the pan with the poblanos, skin facing down, and overlap them a bit to cover them completely. Chop the remaining poblano and set aside. Spread the meat and onion mixture over the entire Poblano, then top with the chopped cheese and the reserved chopped peppers.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. While stirring, gradually pour in the milk, breaking up any lumps of flour. Beat in the eggs and pour the mixture evenly into the baking pan.

Bake the casserole for 45 minutes, or until it expands and turns brown. Remove from the oven and eat.

Note: To use fresh instead of canned poblanos, place the oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the oven grill elements; preheat to roast. Place the poblanos on a large, rimmed baking pan and bake them until they appear brown spots and blisters without burning. Watch them carefully and turn them with tongs until they are all bubbling. Transfer them to a heatproof bowl, cover with a plate or pan, let them steam and cool enough to handle, at least 10 minutes. When poblanos are cold enough to handle, use your fingers to carefully remove and discard their skin. Make a vertical cut from the stem end to the tip of each pepper. Gently remove the seeds and stems, open the peppers, so that the pulp lies flat.

Nutrition information per serving (1 1/3 cup), based on 6 | Calories: 447; Total Fat: 27 g; Saturated Fat: 15 g; Cholesterol: 224 mg; Sodium: 757 mg; Carbohydrate: 17 g; Dietary Fiber: 3 grams; sugar: 8 grams; protein: 33 grams.

The analysis is based on the available ingredients and estimates of the formulation. It should not replace the advice of a dietitian or dietitian.

Adapted by Caroline Hatchett based on Lynda Finch's recipe.