[Robert J. Sawyer] Science Fiction Writer
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Grandma Geiger's Casserole Recipe

From Wake by Robert J. Sawyer

She'd known they were having Grandma Geiger's casserole for dinner even before she'd come downstairs; the combination of smells had filled the house. The cheese was — well, they didn't call it American cheese up here, but it tasted the same, and the tomato "sauce" was an undiluted can of Campbell's tomato soup.

The recipe dated from another era: the pasta casserole was topped with a layer of bacon strips and contained huge amounts of ground beef. Given Dad's problems with cholesterol, it was an indulgence they had only a couple of times a year — but she recognized that her mother was trying to cheer her up by making one of her favorite dishes.

[In reality, this recipe is the work of Rob's maternal grandmother, Nell Peterson, and was Rob's favorite childhood meal.]


1 lb (454 g) lean ground beef
1/2 medium Spanish onion, chopped
3-1/2 cups (825 ml) macaroni shells
3 thin (or 2 thick) slices of process cheese
1-1/2 cans (16 oz or 470 ml) Campbell's Tomato Soup
uncooked bacon strips
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
Pam or bacon grease for sides of casserole dish


Brown ground beef in a frying pan. When beef is halfway cooked, add the chopped onion and continue to heat until beef is thoroughly cooked.

Boil water in a pot. Add the macaroni shells to boiling water. Boil until tender. About 10 minutes.

Cut the cheese up into 1/4" (1/2 cm) squares.

Grease or Pam a large casserole dish.

Stir together ground beef, macaroni, onion, salt, cheese, and tomato soup, and place in casserole dish. Cover with a dense layer of uncooked bacon strips. (You may need to (lightly) pre-cook the bacon if your oven does not have a broiler.) Do not put the lid on the casserole dish.

Cook uncovered at 300°F (150°C) for 50 minutes. If necessary, broil at end to finish cooking the bacon.

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