Editor’s note: Sadie Davis-Suskind, 14, is an eighth grader at Jane Addams Middle School and an aspiring chef. A former “MasterChef Junior” competitor, Davis-Suskind will share a recipe each week that other kids can make as well.
Everyone has a dish that reminds them of someone they love who took very good care of them.
My mom still gets misty-eyed when she talks about the warm raisin noodle kugel her Russian grandma would make for her as an after-school treat.
My British grandfather talks about the sticky, gooey bread puddings his mom made as he grew up in Hackney, East London, during World War II.
In our elementary-school years, every Sunday, my brother and I would reluctantly be pulled away from whatever very important activity we were doing to be driven to Hebrew school. The reward for our participation would be the steaming and utterly delicious bowl of homemade mac and cheese that my mom would have for us when we got home. Knowing that was waiting made school on Sunday palatable (kind of).
The history of mac and cheese is long. Most agree that the dish was around during the Middle Ages in Europe, came to America with the help of Thomas Jefferson (who was a big fan) and was widely popularized by Kraft and its dehydrated bright-orange cheese.
If you haven’t ever tried a homemade version, you are in for a huge treat! And I bet you’ll never go back to the box.
This recipe will also add another building block to your cooking skills. We will be making a roux, a mixture of fat (usually butter) and flour that cooks use to create thick, rich sauces. You can use a roux in so many delicious dishes like gumbo, chicken potpies and many more! So, let’s go!
Mac and cheese
12 ounces elbow macaroni uncooked
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons salt
1½ cups whole milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Black pepper and salt to taste
1. Fill a medium saucepan with water, add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Pour in the elbow macaroni and cook according to package instructions. Drain the macaroni and set it to the side.
2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add flour and whisk the mixture together. Add ½ teaspoon salt and continue to whisk for 3 to 5 minutes until you get a light color that looks a bit puffy.
3. Slowly add milk until the mixture is smooth and thick.
4. Reduce the heat to low and add your cheese in small amounts until the sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add the cooked macaroni to the sauce and gently stir until the sauce is evenly distributed.
Add-ons: You can make your mac and cheese as simple or as fancy as you like. Fresh herbs, crumbled bacon, lobster, crab, prosciutto, breadcrumbs, sun-dried tomatoes and more. The possibilities are endless!!!