Last night at new Franklin Street neighborhood institution Brooklyn Label, a lot of messy-haired people got in touch with their Midwestern roots by eating concoctions with names like "Texas Casserole Massacre" and "Practically Perfect Pairing." Organizer Emily Farris, whose casserole cookbook comes out next Fall, was in high spirits. "I am running around like a crazy lady!" she said, doing just that. "I have to get some waters for my judges!" The water-needing judges included Adam Roberts, author of "The Amateur Gourmet," and a lady who is a sous-chef for the Food Network. Not a judge: Jordana Rothman, who writes about food for Time Out New York. "I'm not bitter or anything," she explained. "But I decided not to enter a casserole, either. Hmmph!" Also not bitter: The casseroles!
They were mostly creamy and bland. Some of them were disgusting, while others were disgusting in a good way. A favorite was called "Trypto-Fan." It was sort of like Thanksgiving dinner mushed up in a dish, but it didn't take any prizes.
The winning casserole, which will be featured on Brooklyn Label's menu for a month, is called "Cheese Love," and all that we could discern about it was that it contains a lot of cheese. Christine Onorati, owner of beloved Franklin Street bookstore Word, was stoked, but was disappointed that her favorite hadn't won. "You have to try it! It's so spicy, though, I'm warning you," she'd said earlier. We tried it and it tasted like the flavor packet from a thing of spicy ramen. Later we thought we had food poisoning for a minute but maybe it was just Casserole Fever.