17 July 2013

Mac 'n cheese memories

In the summer of 1972, as my little sister and I were enjoying a bowl of macaroni and cheese prepared by our visiting aunt, my parents called with the news that our baby brother had arrived. He was every 'big' sister's dream—a live baby doll we could dress up and do all the talking for (to this day, he's more the strong, silent type). He didn't come home from the hospital for another few days, so the memory that marks his birth is actually the ringing of the telephone (probably avocado green) during our mac 'n cheese, and I don't think a birthday has gone by without my sister & me bringing up our scrumptious lunch that day. 

My daughter knows the story by now, too, and it's become a tradition for us to have mac 'n cheese on July seventeenth. Once upon a time, we would make it from a box, but nowadays we experiment with different kinds of fresh cheese. The funny thing is that, in this land of a thousand shapes of pasta, finding the one traditionally known as macaroni in the US (small curved tubes) is not easy...maccheroni is actually a more general term for 'pasta' in Italy. But I suppose each year's winner of Closest-Resemblance-to-Macaroni does add a new twist each time. You can of course also vary the types of both soft & hard cheese (we'd use sharp cheddar if it were easier to get here), or the liquid (milk, buttermilk, a splash of white wine?) or seasoning (a smattering of sage crisped in butter, a shake of Tabasco?). I don't think we've ever made it exactly the same, but last year I did finally record our basic recipe (below).

It's been a long time since we've all been together to celebrate my brother's birthday, but someday I hope to have the chance to make him a nice big bowl of macaroni & cheese...

{Click for a larger view of the ingredients.}

{The quirky 'chalkboard' font was designed by my daughter (with Your Fonts).
If you would like to try our mac 'n cheese recipe but don't find the text to be large enough/sufficiently readable, please click 'Contact' in the sidebar to send an email or leave a comment and I will email you the recipe.}



  1. Delightful! And great shots -are you sure you don't moonlight as a food photographer??? I am tempted to go play with fonts, but think I might not return in time to live my life!

  2. Thank you, Fiona! I must say, I do enjoy photographing ingredients...
    And I know what you mean about the fonts - I have also wanted to create my own, but believe it could grow into quite an obsession! Some day though :)
    - Lisa

  3. Anonymous22 July, 2013

    As far as I remember, the first time I enjoyed macarroni & cheese was at your house down here in Brazil or at the Ranka´s, just across the 'piazza' you lived (remember them?).
    Back in the 80´s every time I went to USA I used to bring 1 or 2 boxes of Kraft mac&x, now with this globalized world I can find it here at more than one supermarket close to home. I don´t use to buy it, but when I see the blue box I have nice memories.
    I´ll try your recipe one of these days and I´ll tell you the result.
    Thanks for sharing it and also the 'Your Fonts' tip. Please, tell Mark 'happy birthday' for me!

    1. Hi Vera - how nice to hear your first memories of mac 'n cheese...how funny to think how things have changed in Brazil since the 70s. And in these times of living in such a 'globalized market', even here we can enjoy perusing the few shelves of Brazilian goodies at the local 'ethnic foods' market. Pão de Queijo is a favorite that brings back lots of memories!
      I'll pass on your birthday wishes to Mark :)
      - Lisa


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