cover image Bake Until Bubbly: The Ultimate Casserole Cookbook

Bake Until Bubbly: The Ultimate Casserole Cookbook

Clifford A. Wright, . . Wiley, $27.99 (456pp) ISBN 978-0-471-75447-3

Few dishes say “comfort food” more than the cheese- and egg-laden casseroles that are favored in small towns in heartland America, but Wright (Real Stew ) shows that casseroles are part of a long international tradition that continues as strongly today in the Middle East as in the Midwest. He features casseroles from the intriguing higher end, like the French Escargots en Casserole or a Spanish tapa with bacon, cabbage, potato and apple, as well as simple, familiar crowd-pleasers exemplified by Tuna Noodle Casserole and the “Nebraska frittata,” aka Cheesy Ham Poof. The chapter range is another testament to casseroles' versatility, beginning with hearty breakfast recipes such as the simple Sailor's Omelet, then running the gamut of main ingredients (meat and fish, pasta and grains, vegetables) and concluding with desserts, where he makes a convincing case for fruit cobblers and crisps and even brownies as casseroles. Ingredient lists are often long, but few of the recipes have more than four or five simple steps, which cooks of most any skill level can easily handle. Wright's headnotes give extensive information about the recipes' provenance and preparation, and his frequent text boxes provide tips on what people really care about with casseroles aside from ease: how to incorporate leftovers from other meals. Not just casserole fans but also those who may previously have looked down on the thought of such dishes will find this a great resource for most any occasion. (Mar.)