Monday 27 January 2014

Vegetable Casserole

The Caker Code of Conduct (CCC) is the belief system that the recipes in our cookbooks are tried-and-true; that the person submitting the recipe has made it over and over again to the delight of family and friends.

Recently, I was flipping through my cookbooks when a name jumped out: my own mother’s name. The recipe she’d submitted was Vegetable Casserole.

Immediately, something seemed off. I couldn’t remember eating this. (Neither did my sister.) Vegetables never took centre stage in our house. A quick scan of the ingredients confirmed my doubts. Fresh broccoli and cauliflower? Cook them separately? I could only wonder – was my own mother guilty of breaking the Caker Code of Conduct? I had no other choice than to make it, take it to her and try to get a confession.

“Here's some Vegetable Casserole,” I said. “Does it sound familiar?”


“This is the cookbook it came from.”

She scanned the page. “Oh, that Broccoli Casserole looks good.”

I pointed out her name. “Vegetable Casserole is your recipe! Only I don't think you ever made it.”

She frowned and passed the cookbook back. “How am I supposed to remember? I made a lot of casseroles over the years.”

Then she proceeded to ask if the colour of my pants were popular among gay men and if I wore that much cologne to work. She also wondered aloud why my fruitcake never turns out as good as my father’s.

I put two and three together. I think there’s a CCC-breaker in the family. I'm going to need some time to process this.

1 fresh cauliflower
1 fresh broccoli
1 can mushrooms
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Heat oven to 325°. Partially cook cauliflower and broccoli separately for 10 minutes. (See note.) Mix together cream soups, sour cream and mayonnaise. In buttered casserole dish, layer broccoli, cauliflower and mushrooms. Pour soup mixture over top. Sprinkle cheese on top. Cover and bake for 20-30 minutes.

Note: "Partially" cook the vegetables for 10 minutes? Maybe this is my mom’s recipe.

P.S. The main photo is a bit misleading because once you mix the layers, it looks like this. Can you blame me for wanting some colour on this blog?

P.P.S. My mom called tonight to tell me how much she loved the Vegetable Casserole I made her. Her caker ears must've been burning. Or she's feeling guilty about the fruitcake thing.

Source: St. Luke’s United Church Cookbook


  1. When I complained that I felt tired after work my mother told me 'you've never liked doing your own housework' then informed me that one of the landscapers working on their garden was training to row across the Atlantic (after work - presumably).

    1. Damn those multi-tasking landscapers. They make the rest of us look so lazy.

  2. This recipe has TWO fresh vegetables in it and I WANT TO KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU'VE DONE WITH BRIAN.

    P.S. Is it just me, or do gay men (and teenage boys) really wear too much cologne?

    1. We have kidnapped Brian. Send us three pairs of acid wash jeans and box of Twinkies and maybe, just maybe, we'll let him go.

      As far as too much cologne, I always spray a mist then skip through it naked. That doesn't seem over the top, does it?

    2. That's the approved method, I believe.

  3. Do they still count as fresh vegetables even after you've combined them with two types of cream soup plus sour cream and mayo??? Just sayin'!

    1. Good point. The freshness is suffocated by the weight of all the soup, mayo and sour cream.

  4. In your mom's defense.....maybe the Alzheimers kicked in because of the strong smell of cologne and vegetables in the house.

    I think that it is absolutely hysterical that she submitted a recipe to a church cookbook that she never actually made! Plus there is the whole irony of her son, who's hobby is making recipes from those type of cookbooks, finding it! You can't make up stuff like this!

    1. I know, right? I mean, you could make a TV-movie-of-the-week out of this situation. It's got everything: betrayal, comedy, complicated family relationships. The only thing missing is Jaclyn Smith.

    2. I can smell the new novel and Hai Karate from here

  5. When I saw the fresh veggies in the pic I thought you might be on to something, although I was confused about the ketchup-y topping. Now I see it is beautifully roasted cheddar atop fat with some vegetables sprinkled in. How about some brown rice in there, Brian'sMom?

    1. If I ever served my mom brown rice, she'd say, "Why are you giving me burned Minute Rice?"