Most Home Town viewers know Mallorie Rasberry as the creative DIY-er and Erin’s best friend. She's also an incredible cook, as you might have discovered on the Thornton House episode. Today, Mallorie is sharing the story behind the casserole baby shower concept and how it has become a tradition amongst their friends and family.
Even though it's pretty new to our "framily," the Casserole Shower has quickly become one of our favorite traditions. Back in late 2019, I was expecting our second baby girl, Lottie, and as good southern women do, Erin, Aly, and Emily wanted to host a baby shower to celebrate. There was only one problem, though; I already had everything I needed! Lottie was our second girl, and I had saved everything from our first pregnancy. We started brainstorming what other kind of shower would be fun and valuable, and it dawned on me!
We had always informally gathered and helped each other prep before the baby came – mostly cooking soups and casseroles and storing them in the freezer to have an easy homecooked meal for after the baby comes! But how could we turn this into a fun shower idea?
We went back and forth but eventually landed on inviting close family and friends and asking everyone to bring two dishes of their favorite freezer meal – one for the mama and one to swap with other guests at the party. This way, everyone goes home with a delicious, ready-to-heat meal.
In March of 2020 BC (Before Covid), those sweet girls hosted our very first Casserole Shower at Emily's house. As the guests arrived, we set aside the casseroles in two piles…one pile to go to my house, and we numbered all the others so we could pull numbers for the swap.
The decorations and snacks were so precious and perfect – they outdid themselves! We ate and told stories, talked about the dishes each guest had brought. It doesn't hurt that all the ladies in my life are excellent cooks! Aunt Karen's lasagna, a breakfast casserole, Aly's famous Italian Shells, taco soup, ranch stew, my mom's gumbo, to name just a few of the delicious concoctions! They all pulled numbers and had fun with friendly banter and bartering for their favorite dish.
About a week before the shower, I realized I wouldn't have enough freezer space for all of these casseroles, so we bought a stand-up deep freezer— very serendipitous! Nobody knew a deep freezer would be a hot commodity in just a few short weeks.
This shower was one of the last "normal" things we did before the world changed, and it makes the memory even fonder. Lottie was born on March 23rd, at the beginning of the lockdown. Coming home to a stocked freezer made bringing home a newborn in uncertain times much less overwhelming.
It was such a blessing to our little family, so I'm a huge fan of the Casserole Shower and host one every chance I get! Everyone that comes seems to love it, too! What other kind of party do you get to leave with a family dinner as a party favor? It doesn't get more southern than that!
Here are a few helpful tips for hosting your Casserole Shower:
*Be very informative and precise on the invitations – it's a new concept, so some folks may not understand. Here are some examples of invites we've used in the past
* Recommend that guests include the recipe and heating instructions for whatever dish they bring. That way, if they love it, they can make it again!
*Ask the expecting mother if she has any potential food allergy. An example: Some of my friends have had to go dairy-free for breastfeeding, so it would be helpful to lean into dairy-free recipes.
For casserole and dish ideas, check out our collection of Family Recipes Volumes 1-3. My Aunt Betty's Jambalaya is in Volume 1, and it's a crowd favorite!