The Mac & Cheese my mom made.

This is my favourite recipe for Macaroni and Cheese, it’s from a 1958 Good Housekeeping pamphlet and the one my mom always made.

Susan’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese

1 TBSP of salt

½ lb of macaroni in 2 ½ inch pieces or elbow macaroni (about 2 cups)

(Mom used the big elbow macaroni not the tiny ones like ones in Kraft mac & cheese

1 small onion

2 TBSP of butter or margarine

1 TBSP of flour

¼ tsp of dry mustard

¾ tsp salt

Speck of pepper

2 cups of milk

½ l of Cheddar cheese (about 2 cups)


¾ cup fresh bread crumbs (I leave these out because I don’t like them)

4 tsp of butter or margarine

  1. In a large kettle bring to boil 3 qts of water with 1TBSP of salt.

Start heating oven to 400 degrees. Grease 1 ½ qt casserole

  1. Drop macaroni into boiling water; boil, uncovered, stirring often with fork, about 9 minutes

Or until piece rubbed between fingers parts fairly easily.

  1. Meanwhile, mince onion, (about 4 tsps) put in double boiler with 2 TBSP of butter. When butter is melting, stir in flour, mustard, salt and pepper; cook until smooth and hot, stirring often.
  2. Slice about 3/4 s of the cheese right into the sauce; stir until the cheese is melted. ( if preferred, slice or grate cheese ahead, using medium grater)
  3. When the macaroni is tender, drain into colander; turn into casserole. Pour cheese sauce over macaroni, tossing lightly with fork so that all the macaroni gets nicely coated. Top with rest of cheese.
  4. Toss bread crumbs with 4 tsp of melted butter. Sprinkle over the cheese.
  5. Bake uncovered; 20 minutes.

Makes 4 servings as a main dish and 6 when served instead of potatoes.

For 2 servings:

Use the following ingredients: 1/3 lb of cheese, 1 1/3 cups raw macaroni, 1 TBSP of minced onion, 4 tsps of butter, 2 tsps of flour, ¼ tsp of dry mustard, ½ tsp of salt, speck pepper, 1 1/3 cups of milk. ½ cup fresh bread crumbs, and 1 TBSP butter. Bake in 1 qt casserole at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Baking – a family trad magical and unmagical

One of the things I learned growing up as part of my training was how to bake and how to add that special “Something” that makes it magical. I was trained by my grandmother as part of my magical training as she had been trained by her grandparent. My mom rejected the training from her grandfather who just happened to be a professional baker. More fool her. She didn’t want anything to do with anything “weird”.

As far as my grandmother was concerned, there was no difference between learning how to talk to animals and plants or how to make magical clothing and sachets or learning our family’s Scottish history and teaching me how to bake.

Grandma would learn new tool for cooking that came along but when it came to special recipes like my great grandfather’s shortbread recipe it had to be done by hand. No mixer just using your hands and intending all good things for the people that would eat it.  I still can’t make it unless I clear my mind and just concentrate on the dough.

Grandpa Alex’s Shortbread recipe

1 LB of flour (I use unbleached) 1 LB = 4 cups

1 LB butter

1/4 LB of Brown sugar

Cream with your hands together until you get one large dough ball. Works best with cold butter cut into chunks. If the butter is warm it sticks to your hands.

Have a piece of brown paper cut from one side of a grocery bag.

Pat out until 1/2 thick. Mark with a fork on lines for breaking. DO not use a cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees until a light tan.

Break apart when cool. DO NOT cut with knife. This will change the chemical constitution of the cookie. It’s very fragile anyway.