Monday, April 6, 2009

Some Comfort Food For Thought!

It probably wouldn't be on the menu for your mother-in-law's first dinner visit, and it isn't exactly gourmet fare, but macaroni and cheese is one of the most popular--if not the most popular--American comfort foods. Nearly every soul food cookbook and many Southern cookbooks have recipes for the American favorite, with few differences from one to the next.

Some believe the dish was created by founding father Thomas Jefferson, known for his great interest in food, and in a 1996 "Restaurants & Institutions" article, Barbara Bell Matuszewski wrote that Jefferson served the dish in the White House in 1802. However, noted food historian Karen Hess claims Jefferson did not invent the dish, though he did return from a trip to Paris with a macaroni mold.

According to John Mariani, author of "The Dictionary of American Food and Drink," macaroni and cheese was first made in the nineteenth century, but it took on a even greater popularity when Kraft Foods introduced the Kraft Dinner (macaroni and cheese) in 1937. According to a company spokesperson, Kraft now sells more than one million boxes of the dinners every day! The Kraft dinners are so popular, in fact, that children and some adults have been known to turn up their noses when offered a rich and delicious homemade version (sad!).

Homemade macaroni and cheese can be a simple layering of cooked macaroni, shredded (or sliced) cheese and salt and pepper, or it can be made with a white sauce-cheese base, topped with more cheese and buttered crumbs before baking. This ever-so-humble dish is delicious and satisfying as is, but you can jazz it up (homemade or package version) with the addition of chopped vegetables, meat, fish or poultry, or your favorite herbs or spices.

Recently having this odd "craving" for some good homemade macaroni and cheese, I found this very easy recipe that I've been wanting to try for some time.

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and butter a 2 qt. cassarole dish.

Next, prepare your ingredients: 4 cups cooked macaroni (2 cups, dry), 1/2 stick of unsalted butter (cut into pieces), 1/2 cup of sour cream, 2 cups of shredded cheddar, 3 eggs, beaten, 1 cup of milk, 1/2 teaspoon course salt.

First, cook and drain the macaroni and place in a large bowl. While the macaroni is still hot, add the cheddar cheese. In a seperate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add this to the macaroni mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cassarole dish and bake for 45 minutes.

If you want some additional "cheesiness", sprinkle about a cup of additional cheddar on top after 35 minutes and bake for the remaining 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool just a bit!


NOTE: Please excuse the odd layout of this entry, but was being a little "stupid" as I was posting this and it won't allow me to correct it!


  1. A friend of Eric'sApril 6, 2009 at 11:31 PM

    This looks delicious, but what about the Strawberry Pretzel Squares - sounds delicious!

  2. That recipe is coming tomorrow (Tuesday). I'm too tired to post anymore!

  3. I really enjoy the little bit of history that you give us. This is one of my comfort foods, but I don't think I have ever had it with sour cream before. Mmm...I can't wait to try this!

  4. There is no better comfort food (outside of a big chocolate layer cake)than mac and cheese!

  5. Elaine - I don't think I ever had it with sour cream either, I usually make Martha's "101" recipe. It gives it a delicious, rich taste! There were no leftovers when I made this!

  6. Not really a friend of Eric'sApril 8, 2009 at 12:08 AM

    {Eric, SHHHH! I lied so he'd post my comment!}

    And thanks! I can't wait for the strawberry squares!