ANDERSON – There are cookbooks propped up in kitchens all over Anderson. About 50 local women are cooking up their best casseroles, and it’s all for the love of art.
Members of Anderson’s Women’s League are busily preparing dishes to freeze and sell at next week’s Oktoberfest, the annual good-times fundraiser for The Anderson Center for the Arts, set for Thursday, Sept. 19. The Casserole Kitchen is a popular feature of the festival that also encompasses brats, crafts, log sawing, pretzel contest, entertainment, cider making, kids’ games, book and boutique booths, beer, and yes, art.
“We have some regulars who are there when we open the doors,” said Barb Erlich. She’s co-chairing this year’s Casserole Kitchen with Maureen Kirchenbauer.
Many of the members tap into the Tri Kappa cookbook for their taste-tempting casseroles. The all-local cookbook was originally published back in 1980, and reprinted and expanded in 2011.
Kirchenbauer said that the Chicken Rice casserole prepared from the cookbook is always a hot ticket at Casserole Kitchen. Breakfast casseroles are also big sellers, in both large and small sizes. Another winner is the ham loaf.
“It sells out immediately,” said Kirchenbauer. The small version meat loaves also make a hit. “Those are very popular – the perfect size for two or three people.”
“Most will have the recipe on it,” said Kirchenbauer. “That way, you can do it again.”
Kirchenbauer is still settling in on the casserole she will donate to the cause.
“I’m looking through all my cookbooks,” said Kirchenbauer. She’s considering a new recipe that includes both chicken and sausage.
“I make a Marzetti,” Erlich said. The beef, noodle, cheese and tomato casserole was based on a dish from the Marzetti restaurant years ago. “My mother went home and analyzed what was in it.”