Weekly Feature #28—The Casserole

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Be It Ever So Humble…

The Casserole— A dish used both to cook in the oven and to serve. Also the food cooked in the oven and served in the dish…  

 

Feature 28- The Casserole

Originally, the word casserole described the pan (often of pottery) in which food was cooked. In French, the word casserole literally means pan or saucepan. Eventually, the usage of the word evolved to include the food that resulted from its slow cooking in the casserole.

In the United States and much of Europe, a Casserole often consists of chunks of meat (such as chicken or beef) or fish (such as tuna), chopped vegetables and a starchy binder such as flour, rice, potato or pasta. Casseroles also often have a crunchy (cornflakes, potato chips or bread crumbs) or cheesy topping.

These ofttimes humble and economical, though sometimes quite elaborate and elegant, dishes date back to at least the 1800s. They became very popular in the decades after the 1870s and again in the 1930s, providing inexpensive forms of sustenance during times of Depression, but had their heyday in the 1940s and 50s when many new light-wieght metal and heat proof glass cookware pans and dishes hit the market. A recipe resembling our present day comfort food, Macaroni and Cheese, was published in the 1824 cookbook, “The Virginia Housewife”, written by Thomas Jefferson’s daughter Mary Randolph.

Forest Fancies​ Pyrex 1980-1986

Coming Soon…Forest Fancies​ Pyrex 1980-1986

Fire-King by Anchor Hocking and Pyrex by Corning are two of the most famous vintage brands of casserole dishes. Of course, casserole dishes have been made in a wide range of other materials—ceramic, pottery, cast iron and aluminum to name a few. These days, many collectors seek out Pyrex and Fire-King, dazzled by the many patterns and colors these companies manufactured through the years. Other brands, like Federal Glass and Glasbake also find their niche in the hearts of vintage fans.

We have several examples of these vintage casserole dishes in the shop at present, and more that will be offered within the next several weeks. I just recently found a set of three of the round casseroles in the Forest Fancies pattern from the 1980s. I will be adding listings for these soon.

As for my own personal stash, I am currently collecting Corning’s iconic Cornflower Blue, as much because of the color (I am a blue and white fanatic) as the still rather wide availablity. I am also the original owner of a complete set of Corning’s French style Classic Black casserole dishes made in the early 1990s. I will be selling them when my new (vintage) collection is complete. I also recently acquired a lovely gold trimmed Georges Briard Fire-King casserole dish. It appeals to my Mid Century gilt loving side so it is living with me for the present. However, I do have some lovelies for sale:

Vintage Casserole Dishes

 

Pyrex Oval Casserole Dish Early American Pattern: Pyrex Ovenware 1 1/2 Quart Dish With Glass LidPyrex Oval Casserole Dish Early American Pattern: Pyrex Ovenware 1 1/2 Quart Dish With Glass Lid~ $20.00

Early American Pattern Pyrex Oval 1 1/2 Quart Casserole Dish (also called Country Pictures, Early American Heritage, Weathervane) This pattern, popular for its Americana imagery including cat, rooster weather vane, eagle, coffee mill, corn and bellows, debuted in Fall of 1962. The color is called Colonial Brown and the designs are rendered in 22-karat gold. This pattern was discontinued in 1971. This oval dish and glass lid are in good vintage condition. No cracks or chips. It does have some slight discoloration on both lid and dish from oven use, and some scratches in the outer finish. Nothing very large or noticeable.


 

Federal Glass Blue Roses Heat Proof Casserole 1 1/2 Quart: Vintage Milk Glass with Blue Rose Design OvenwareFederal Glass Blue Roses Heat Proof Casserole 1 1/2 Quart: Vintage Milk Glass with Blue Rose Design Ovenware~ $14.00

Amazing vintage Casserole Dish from Federal Glass Company. This glass company first opened their doors in 1900 in Columbus, Ohio and remained in business until 1979. During this time they manufactured pressed glass tumblers, jugs, numerous patterns of dishware, carnival glass and ovenware to name a few. This lovely Blue Roses pattern Heat Proof Casserole is in excellent condition (a few fleabites along inside edges) no chips, cracks or discoloration. It is a squared oval, measuring 11 1/4 inches length and 6 3/4 inches in width. Very nice piece of 1960s ovenware.


Anchor Hocking Vintage Fire King Meadow Green 8 Inch Square Casserole Dish

Anchor Hocking Vintage Fire King Meadow Green 8 Inch Square Casserole Dish~ $15.00

Nice Fire King eight inch square casserole dish made in the 1960s. It has a flat (about 1/4 inch) chip in the milk glass near one handle. See second photo. I have placed an arrow showing the chip. It does not effect the usefulness of this dish and has very little cosmetic impact. Not terribly noticeable. Otherwise this casserole dish is in near mint condition. No scratches, dull spots or other signs of wear.  This Anchor Hocking oven ware measures eight inches square, 10 1/4 inches across top handles and is 2 inches deep. Look at photos closely.


Vintage Corning Ware Pastel Floral Bouquet A-1 1/2-B 1.5 Liter or Quart Covered Casserole 1980s

Vintage Corning Ware Pastel Floral Bouquet A-1 1/2-B 1.5 Liter or Quart Covered Casserole 1980s~ $15.00

This sweet floral pattern was made by Corning from 1985-90. Dish is markedA-1 1/2-B. Lid is Marked Pyrex A-7-C (18).  This casserole dish, complete with lid is in excellent condition. It is about 6 1/2 inches square with two 1 inch handles and 2 1/2 inches deep. Nice addition to vintage Corning Ware collection.


Anchor Hocking Fire-King Casserole: 1-Quart Rectangular Oven/Baking/Serving Dish Mid Century Modern

Anchor Hocking Fire-King Casserole: 1-Quart Rectangular Oven/Baking/Serving Dish Mid Century Modern “Candle Glow” Pattern~ $11.00

Atomic Age baking and serving dish. These casserole dishes were made in the years of 1967 to 1972 when the Candle Glow pattern was discontinued. The 1 quart size rectangular casserole by Anchor Hocking is 10 3/4 inches x 5 1/2 inches and about 2 1/2 inches deep. It has the Fire-King mark on the bottom. Made in the U.S.A. The product # is 441.  This vintage baking dish is in wonderful condition. There are some dull spots from dishwasher or scouring and some slight wear on the candle flame design in places. See photos above for details. A lovely addition to the mid century modern kitchen.


Did Someone Say Tuna Casserole?

Though casseroles have seemingly fallen somewhat in grace during this past couple of decades, you just can’t keep an economical and convenient food down. I am convinced that, while these homely dishes may evolve in this era of the Foodies, they wont go away. I still make at least one or two dishes a week in a casserole. Just last night I made Eggplant Gratin with Herbs and Creme Fraiche, and it was delicious. I highly recommend this recipe. And, humble as it may remain, I still love the classic Tuna Casserole with noodles, vegetables and cream soup that so many of grew up with. I would really like to hear which casseroles and oven dishes make you feel all warm and fuzzy.

Till next time…

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