Sunday Dinner: Eggplant Casserole

We see them in newspapers, magazines and on canned-food labels, but the best place I like to find them is in local cookbooks. I’m talking about recipes, because we know that if the contributor has his or her name attached, the recipe will be a good one.

That is true of today’s recipe. It is from an old cookbook, so old that the copyright has probably expired. “Treasured Recipes from South Carolina Kitchens” was published more than 30 years ago by the Ladies Auxiliary of the South Carolina Association of Conservation Districts.

The recipe I have “borrowed” was submitted by Dorothy K. (Mrs. R.T.) Tripp of Piedmont. Mrs. Tripp died more than 25 years ago, but this excellent recipe lives on to bring culinary pleasure to all who eat it. Her family members prepare it often, and I suspect every time it is served someone says this recipe was “Grandmother’s,” or “Aunt Dorothy’s” or something similar.

Dorothy Tripp

The late Mrs. Tripp was a member of Mt. Airy Baptist Church in Easley. Dr. Keith Shorter has served the 1,000-member church as pastor for more than 20 years and was recently elected president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention. Mt. Airy was organized in 1895.

Dorothy was active in the church’s WMU program, and one of the missionary groups was named in honor of her.

Dorothy’s son, Dickie, and his wife, Thalia, who call Mt. Airy their home, live in Dorothy’s former house. They have four children — Tracy, Todd, Tate and Anne — along with eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Years ago, eggplants were available only from local growers in summer. But now, thanks to refrigeration and trucking companies, they are in the supermarkets year round, just waiting for you to make today’s recipe. (Another way to prepare it is to peel the eggplant, cut into strips and roll in flour, and deep-fry.)

There are several varieties of eggplant, but the ones we most often see are the fat, oval ones and, occasionally, the six-to-seven-inch-long slender variety. If you haven’t cooked eggplant in a while, make Dorothy’s recipe this Saturday, cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate, then serve it to be enjoyed by all for … Sunday Dinner.

Eggplant Casserole

1 large eggplant
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups water
1/2 large onion, minced

Peel and cut the eggplant into chunks. Cook these four ingredients until tender, then drain.

Mash the cooked eggplant and onion, then add:

2 eggs, well beaten
1 sick (1/4 pound) butter or margarine, melted
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup whole milk
1 4-ounce sleeve saltine crackers, crushed
1 10-1/2 ounce can mushroom soup

Mix well and put into casserole dish. Cover with sharp grated cheese and sprinkle with paprika. Bake in moderate oven (about 350 degrees) for 20-30 minutes. Makes six servings.

Have a recipe?