My mom’s in town for the week. We’ve been eating well. Very well. Drinking plenty of glasses of wine and sharing stories we’ve probably told a million times. They’re stories that make our family unique. Stories about my brother chasing my sister down the beach declaring, “sweet revenge,” with a plastic sword in his hand. Stories of sitting in ant piles and falling off my scooter. My dad picked every last pebble out of my knee. Stories of listening to my Big Bird tape player sing “I wanna go home” over and over again. Stories that no one else quite understands except my family. They’re ours.
Over dinner we start reminiscing about meals we used to indulge in. Hamburger Helper. Beef Stroganoff and Chili Mac were our favorite. Fried okra and chicken on Sunday nights. Friday nights—Pizza Hut pizza. Those meals. They brought our family together. And I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
But our favorite was always Mom’s macaroni and cheese. Homemade to perfection. It always had a spot at the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner table. Tradition keeps it there. And maybe its addicting flavor. Friends and family, new and old, still request mom’s mac and cheese. It’s famous in our little world.
We owe it to Granny—my mom’s mom who taught her how to make it. And now my mom has passed it on to my sister and I. Our stories about ant hills and plastic swords and Hamburger Helper may not make sense to you, but I think this one will.
I use whole wheat noodles and add a little stone ground mustard to mine. But those are optionals.
- 12 oz. whole wheat elbow noodles
- 10 oz. cheddar cheese + 8 thin slices
- 3 c. milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1½ tbsp. stone ground mustard (optional)
- 1 tsp. fresh cracked pepper
- 1½ tsp. sea salt
- 4 tbsp. butter, thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 350º. Lightly spray 9"x13" pan. Set aside.
- Boil noodles about a minute less than package instructions. Drain and run cold water over.
- Grate cheese and set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, stone ground mustard (optional), pepper, and salt.
- Add noodles and cheese to pan. Mix together until evenly combined. Pour milk mixture over noodles until it reaches just below the top of the noodles.
- Top with cheese slices and thinly sliced butter.
- Bake for about 1 hour and allow to set for 10 minutes before serving.