I still remember the very first chicken casserole I ever made. It was as ugly as sin and didn’t quite look like it was, nor should have been, edible, but it was. That tiny lake of grease that reached from one end of the Corningware flower print casserole dish to the other—it resembled the Exxon Valdez oil spill tinted light orange from the cheddar cheese—added a slick but otherwise tasty element to the dish. As aesthetics go, it wasn’t the prettiest dish a person ever laid eyes on, but to me, it was a masterpiece. The wonderful flavor far outshined its façade, and I suppose this is what made it all the more special for me. They say you never forget your first. From that day to this, the memory of that chicken casserole has stayed with me, and I suspect it always will.