This section is from the book "The American Woman's Cook Book", by Ruth Berolzheimer. Also available from Amazon: The Domestic Arts Edition of the American Woman's Cook Book.
Casseroles will last indefinitely if properly treated. It is wise to avoid a sudden and great change in temperature, such as occurs when a casserole is taken from a hot oven and placed in a wet sink. It is not advisable to set a glass or earthenware casserole over a high flame without an asbestos mat under it. A new casserole may be tempered and made more tough by pouring cold water into and about it, and bringing it gradually to the boiling-point.
Advantages of Cooking in a Casserole
The Casserole Saves Dish-Washing, because it makes it possible to bring food to the table in the dish in which it was cooked. Frequently, also, it contains a "one-dish meal" which eliminates all but the one cooking dish.
The Casserole Makes it Possible to Use Left-Overs in attractive, palatable combinations, to cook tough meats tender, and to prepare vegetables in an almost unlimited variety of ways. Any vegetable may be boiled, steamed, baked, scalloped or creamed, and cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, onions, peppers, potatoes or tomatoes may be stuffed and cooked in the casserole.
Food Cooked in this Way Needs Little Watching, it may be kept warm and still attractive if the meal is delayed, and there is no loss of vegetable or meat juices. These juices contain a valuable part of the food which is often thrown away, especially in the case of vegetables that are boiled.
A Whole Meal May be Cooking in the Oven in the casserole while the oven is being used for some other purpose, such as baking cookies. The cover of the casserole should fit well into the dish, so that it is practically airtight, a fact that should be borne in mind when the casserole is purchased. If the oven must be kept very hot for something else, set the casserole in a pan of water so that the food within will simmer, not boil. As the water becomes hot, take out part of it and add cool water to keep it at the desired temperature.