Thursday, April 19, 2012

Saying Goodbye

I started my day in the kitchen. I am making macaroni and cheese (it's in the oven now) to take to church this morning. We are serving lunch before the funeral of a dear lady who will be sorely missed. She was one of those folks from a generation when people did whatever needed and more. Without complaint. It will take a whole committee of people at church to replace her and all the work she did.

I've had "conversations" lately with some of my email buddies about how our foods and food customs are different depending on where we live. I have no clue how people in other parts of the US go about a funeral, but here in the South, we make sure there is plenty of food for the family. Friends and neighbors will arrive at the front door with cakes, casseroles and potato salad. And often an entire meal is planned for the family just before or after the service. That's what I'm helping with today. One of the many jobs Miss Ethel did so well was to call church members and arrange for food to be brought when it was needed. She had it down to a science, knowing just how much food and how many gallons of sweet tea would be needed. She loved making phone calls and she was so sweet that no one ever said "no" to her. 

I've never heard of one of these dinners without macaroni and fried chicken. So today I am making macaroni and cheese for Miss Ethel's family. 

Macaroni & Cheese

16-oz. box elbow macaroni (we like the small elbows)
16-oz. sharp Cheddar cheese (NY sharp when I can find it)
4 cups milk (I use fat-free or 1%--like it makes it healthier)
4 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
a sprinkle of black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook macaroni according to directions on the box. Drain. While macaroni cooks, grate the cheese. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with PAM. Put half the macaroni in the baking dish, layer half the cheese over it, add the rest of macaroni and then the remaining cheese.

Mix the milk, eggs, salt and pepper. Pour over the macaroni and cheese. Use just enough to cover the macaroni.  (Sometimes I don’t use quite all of the milk/egg mixture. And I have been known to add a little bit more milk if the 4-cups didn't cover it.)

Bake, uncovered, for 35-45 minutes, until lightly browned on top.  Let rest for about 15 minutes before serving so that it "sets."

Yesterday I had lunch with a cousin who is several years older than I am. She asked how much I remembered about our granddaddy. I had just turned nine when he died, so I don't remember nearly as much as she does. She told me that he always made the macaroni for our family dinners. I didn't remember that. I would think that this recipe is his. Back then we called it "macaroni pie" and this recipe has been handed down from mother-to-daughter several times. I wouldn't dare change the recipe one bit.


  1. Another saint graduates to glory :) What a blessing you all are for the family left behind... community coming together.

  2. Macaroni and cheese is THE comfort food. I know it tasted delicious and was a balm.


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