1 8 ounce bar extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
6 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
1. Oven 375 degrees
2. Grease a large oven baking dish. Place macaroni in dish.
3. Prepare white sauce – Melt butter in deep pot. With a wooden spoon, add flour, and stir into butter
making a thick paste. Add milk a 1/2 cup at a time and continually keep stirring until all milk is well
blended. Continue to stir, until it comes to a boil, then toss in 3/4 of your grated cheese. Set aside 1/4 of
cheese for topping. Continue to stir until cheese is melted.
4. Pour cheese sauce over macaroni and top with remaining 1/4 of grated cheeese. Bake for 30 to 45
minutes, depending on how creamy you prefer your mac and cheese. I bake for 45 minutes for a crispy
Do you know the saying, “American as mom and apple pie”? Well, for me, it is mom and macaroni & cheese. Macaroni & cheese is a comfort food, and it is a meal that every mom can make.
My dad died when I was 12 years old. My mom slowed down on cooking big dinners after that. I think the traditional family of a mother, a father and children usually goes hand and hand with strict dinner rules. When my father was alive, dinner was at 6:00 p.m. sharp every night, no fooling around, and you better not be a minute late. My brother and I grew up on those strict dinner rules. After dad passed away, mom’s spirit was broken a bit, including her love of cooking, and dinner time became more relaxed. My brother had just started college and, therefore, was never around for dinner. Mom started working after 30 years of being at home. The traditional sit down dinners I had grown up with didn’t exist anymore. Without my dad, the atmosphere was a little more lenient as far as having friends over for dinner, and my house became the place for my friends to go. My mom was always feeding my friends. She enjoyed the company and having a full house. Her pastina (egg and noodle dish), macroni & cheese, along with cinnamon buns were there for everyone to enjoy. I mention these three foods because the recipes are still requested by my friends to this day. It is amazing that my best friend, Maura, who enjoyed Sunday dinners at my house when we were growing up, has these great memories of eating at my home. Just like I remember eating Leg of Lamb at her house, she remembers Ravioli on Sundays at my house, and my mom’s macaroni & cheese, and she also loves her pastina and cinnamon buns. It is great to have and to share these memories.
During the first year after my dad passed away, no holidays were celebrated. Mom did not want to have the holidays at home without dad. For the years afterwards, she left the holiday dinners to me, always saying the same thing, “It’s not the same without your father here”. Well, after ten years had passed, I said, “Hey mom, I think that it’s been long enough for that excuse. Dad has been gone ten years, and you could cook a dinner for the rest of us!” I was kidding of course. If you’re not laughing, you’re crying, so laugh.
Maybe right now I am actually making a memory with my children and their friends when I serve Mom’s macaroni & cheese, because they will remember it as mine. Comfort food is very comforting.