STEPHANIE JANE CARTER is a CIA- trained former chef who has cooked professionally in Austria and several states in the U.S. She most recently cooked at the 4-14 Festival in Dijon, France. She co-authored The A-Z Encyclopedia of Food Controversies and the Law and is a freelance writer and editor based in New Orleans. She also has an M.A. in philosophy from Tulane University.
I often spent my childhood summers on my grandparents’ farm in South Carolina, where I learned that you could not take creatures from the nearby stream and “grow” them in a cup filled with faucet water, that the cows on the farm had a future that would turn me into a vegetarian for some of my life, that peanuts from the ground taste completely differently than dry roasted peanuts from a jar. I also learned to drive a pick-up truck (I was 9), how to shuck corn and feed it to the cows from the bed of the pick-up truck, how to make castles from bails of hay, and how to have patience as my mother checked for ticks afterwords.
My grandfather called me a “city girl” to tease me and said that a city girl or boy would never know how to cook. I learned that too, though at culinary school and in professional kitchens in 4 different countries. But that was always fussy food. Through that journey, I learned that there will always be a place at my table for a casserole.
This recipe is for the summer squash casserole that was always on that South Carolina farm’s table, along with turkey, ham, frog legs, giblet gravy, mashed potatoes, and baked macaroni and fresh corn (or whatever vegetable was good on the farm that week). It was also published in the First Lady Cookbook 1976.
1 pkg. cornbread stuffing
1 stick butter
1.5 lbs yellow squash, cooked, drained, mashed
1 can cream of celery soup
1-8oz. carton sour cream
1 small jar pimiento, chopped
1 can water chestnuts, chopped fine
2 small onions, chopped
Melt butter and pour into stuffing. Line the bottom of a casserole dish with half the stuffing. Mix all other ingredients with the mashed squash. Pour over stuffing. Top with other half of the stuffing. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.