#WriteHere — A Favorite Family Recipe
My Magnificent and Magical Baked Macaroni and Cheese
I LOVE CHEESE! All kinds of cheese from good old traditional cheddar to chevre. I love it whether it’s made from cow’s or goat’s milk. I like creamy fontina to salty and somewhat chalky feta.
My all-time favorite cheese-centric recipe is macaroni and cheese. It’s just the perfect dish. It’s like a warm hug on a plate or in a bowl.
My recipe has evolved over the years and surpassed my Gam’s original, super yummy version. My Gam’s mac and cheese base had evaporated and whole milk with lots of hand-shredded cheddar. It was good, but I knew it could be better.
I helped my Gam cook since I was 9 because she lost use of her left hand from a work accident. My Gam used a cast iron pan for home physical therapy (but that’s another story for a different day). We had an arrangement — I would help with laundry and cooking after school and on Saturdays and she would clean my room and the kitchen after meals.
When I went to school, everyone had to take Home Economics (Home Ec) to teach us how to manage and maintain a home, make a budget, plan and prepare meals, sew and make minor home repairs. I only liked the cooking lessons.
My all-time favorite lesson was how to make macaroni and cheese. I was obsessed. I remember the class recipe was good, but I could taste the flour in the sauce and it didn’t have enough cheese.
I went home and started experimenting with combining my Home Ec recipes and my grandmother’s. She loved tasting the experiments. We always had the ingredients in the house. (My Gam loved cheese too, but I take credit for upgrading and expanding her cheese knowledge.)
The first thing I did was tripled the cheese from the Home Ec recipe and used 1/3 the extra sharp cheddar cheese in the bechamel sauce to make a mornay (cheese) sauce and used my Gams method of putting some cheese in the pan with the noodles prior to pouring and mixing with the sauce.
The first few years I used sharp and mild cheddar and mozzarella. My Gam liked the cheesy stretch.