Foodways

Taco Caserole

Title: Taco Caserole

Category: Recipe/Food

Informant: Lisa L. Gabbard

Nationality: American, caucasian

Age: 58

Occupation: Housewife

Residence: 5031 Mead Drive/ Doylestown PA, 18902 (Suburban Home)

Date of Collection: 4/8/18

Description:

Ingredients:

– 1 -1 1/2 lbs ground beef

– 1 pkg taco seasoning

– 1 can stewed tomatoes

– 1 can sliced mushrooms

– 1 med. onion, chopped fine

– Shredded Mexican cheese

– 1 can cut green beans

– 1 can wax beans

– 1 can kidney beans

– Tortilla chips

– Cottage cheese or sour cream

– Sliced or whole black olives

Directions

– Cook meat and onion together until meat is brown and onions are opaque. Drain well. Add taco seasoning, simmer several minutes until well blended (10-15min). Drain all beans well— removing as much moisture as possible. Add all remaining ingredients to meat mixture, except cheeses, and mix well. Place casserole in a pre-heated 350 degree oven until very hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and cover with Mexican cheese. Return to oven until melted. Crush tortillas in plate. Cover with casserole mixture. Add cottage cheese or sour cream to garnish.

Context/Significance:

Lisa L. Gabbard was in a relationship with a man by the name of James Weathersby in her late twenties/early thirties (1980s). As she grew closer to this man she began attending dinner at his family’s home along with James’s brother Brad Weathersby and mother. During this time The Weathersby Family lived in Columbus Mississippi. Mrs. Weathersby introduced the recipe to Lisa L. Gabbard where she then introduced the recipe to her own mother, Gladys R. Lewis. After the conclusion of Lisa L. Gabbard and James Weathersby’s relationship, Gladys R. Lewis then took the recipe and claimed ownership in her Pilot’s Club annual recipe book without Lisa L. Gabbard’s knowledge.

The recipe has existed and altered throughout the past 30-40 years. Lisa L. Gabbard then introduced the recipe to her current spouse Kurt A. Gabbard and their three children Hunter A Gabbard, Mallory A. Gabbard, and Schuyler A. Gabbard. At one time the recipe included “bacos” as garnish— this garnish has not existed in the Gabbard Family recipe for the past 21 years. The recipe has been shared with houseguests and friends of The Gabbard Family.

This recipe has become a staple of The Gabbard Family household. The children have been unaware of the origin of the recipe with the exception of Mallory A. Gabbard after questioning her mother for information regarding prior relationships before her eventual marriage to Kurt A. Gabbard. This recipe is often served on busy weeknights because of its speedy and easy preparation or on hispanic inspired holidays such as Cinco De Mayo. This recipe is either served on a plate or in a bowl and is often accompanied by queso and tortilla chips.

Personal Thoughts:

Taco Casserole has been a favorite of mine since childhood. The recipe includes a variety of vegetables that come canned, making it relatively cheap and somewhat healthy in moderation. It’s easy to make and I’ve personally altered the recipe: I do not include bacos, or kidney beans. Instead of draining the pot between steps, I create a faux stew that infuses the vegetables with the meat juices and taco seasoning. I do not bake the final product and instead serve the cheese on the side to be placed on an individual’s serving at their own discretion. I only ever use whole black olives.

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