This section is from the book "Mrs. Allen's Cook Book", by Mrs. Ida C. Bailey Allen. See also: The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat.
Perhaps the woman who has learned to cook by imagination will find the casserole more useful than the one who cooks altogether by recipes, for the larder often contains various left-overs and odd vegetables which will fit into a delicious casserole, better than into any other dish. For instance, the woman who uses ham often finds scraps left over from cutting, bits of meat which have adhered to the bone, and the end which is unavailable for slicing. Often, she will utilize these strips for sandwiches, creamed ham, or an omelet for breakfast or luncheon, whereas they could be made into a much more substantial dish well-suited to a home dinner. I discovered this while keeping house on a farm ten miles from a railroad, when ham was a staple weekly article, and the garden in summer and the vegetable-cellar in winter were my chief assets. I used to oil my largest bean-pot with ham fat, put in a layer of sliced turnip, then a little minced ham, some parnsips, and more ham, a layer of sliced raw potatoes, some minced onions and shredded cabbage, interspersing every layer with ham, a sprinkling of flour and a little salt and pepper. Sometimes a few parboiled beans were added, the ingredients depending upon the season of the year. The whole was barely covered with ham liquor, or stock, and baked very slowly for at least three hours.
Not long ago I tested a recipe in which beef tongue was used, but found myself confronted with the root end for utilization. Into the casserole went these bits of meat, together with some chopped carrots, minced onion, chopped green pepper, tomato, salt, pepper, a few spices, dry bread crumbs for thickening and a little of the tongue liquor. It was good casserole, but one truly inspired by imagination and necessity!