There’s not a lot out there on the “shut-in,” and sadly, people just don’t talk about them much anymore. (They used to be an official heading in most church bulletins in the South.) One thing is certain, however, the shut-in is desperate for casseroles—and lots of them.
In case you’re not Southern, Dictionary.com defines a “shut-in” as a “a person confined by infirmity or disease to the house, a hospital, etc.”
As a former graduate level feminist-theory student turned Christian homeschool mom, I have an interesting perspective on the casserole. When I finally succumbed to marriage at 27, I was fresh out of grad school.
So it’s no mystery why I sobbed openly when my mother’s cousin presented me with a blue and white quilted “casserole caddy” (complete with a pink bow) during a wedding shower held in a church multi-purpose room. At that point, I had never made a casserole, could not imagine myself doing such, and was convinced my life as a married woman would render me scrubbing grout lines and analyzing the benefits of Biz over Whisk.
It’s also not surprising that a few weeks after marrying, I began drinking a few too many Joseph’s Cherries (raspberry seltzer with grenadine and vodka) and trying my hand at huswifery. The results were tragic: Endless, crumbly, dry peach cobblers and an attempt at falafel that tasted like soap. H renamed the dish “cho cho balls.”
Now, 13 years and three children later, I actually have a casserole argument. H exhibits severe disdain for my casseroles; yet he exults that if I am providing a meal for a “shut-in” family, my own family goes without. And that is true. But truthfully my own family is glad–they will get takeout Mexican. And the shut-ins’ are happy to see my casseroles coming! They are shut in—they have no choice…no ability to go out and get some alternative. And I’ll tell you they all ask for the recipes when it’s all said and done so what does that say about my casserole-popularity?
I have two offerings for the shut-in: “Wild Rice Chicken Casserole,” or a “Cheez Whiz Spaghetti Casserole.”
So my dear friend Ashley calls me yesterday to make sure I knew some friends had a motorcycle accident and were going to be “shut in” for a while. She asks, “So which one are you doing, “the chicken” or “that Cheez Whiz thing?”
Am I that predictable?
“Yeah, it sucks to be a ‘shut-in’ in this town,” H encourages.