When I saw this display of casserole dishes, it brought me back to every potluck, church dinner, single group get together, and funeral I ever attended. What is it about the casserole dish that means joy, pain, comfort, and caring all at the same time? No matter the circumstance, event, or meal a casserole is always appropriate. You can eat it when you want, as much as you want, you can warm it up right in the dish, or prepare it for someone else in need. A casserole keeps you full, satisfied, warm, and reminds you that no matter the ingredients it will keep you moving for another day.
When you make a casserole there is no illusion of what you are preparing. You are putting together the best parts, the leftover parts, the yummy parts to create something to make someone else feel better. You are preparing something to fill a need, soothe a sorrow, fill the hungry and lay a foundation for fellowship and enjoyment. The person eating your food can eat it cold or hot, alone or with the group, over tears or jokes, then clean the dish to get it ready for the next fantastic meal.
When I was single I made many a casserole, and ate them for what seemed like forever. It usually took me a week to finish it all, and by the end I was tired of it’s contents. When I was broke the casserole provided energy and life by combining cheap and readily available ingredients. Even though I got tired of eating them, I continued to prepare them as they could create something I could afford and that would sustain me for a another day.
Many a life has been served by these vessels. Many a heavy heart and poor relation has been comforted and sustained by it’s contents. Many leftovers have been combined to create something new to disguise and utilize their last morsels of flavor. And the comfort doesn’t end until the dish is returned to the hand of the giver. Kind words of gratitude and comfort usually accompany their return, with the hopes of future meals spent together eaten from the edges of these amazing dishes.
If only people were as giving as the casserole dish. If we only learned the lesson that every dish and lid know; the giving freely of what we can give with no expectations other than to be given more chances to serve, that is an amazing purpose and practice to live by. There is beauty and peace in simplicity. No need to pretend or make things complicated, no need to invest in expensive things, make do with what you have, and enjoy the blessings prepared by loving hands. Everything you need can be found within yourself and chances are you have inside you something that will help someone else keep moving forward.
Oh the adventures of a casserole dish. The tales they could tell if they could speak. But they can’t, so we will keep filling and emptying them over and over again giving thanks for their undying service to our stomachs, and knowing that unless we break them the next generation will be blessed by their attributes over and over again.