John Kemp’s Kitchen: Grandma’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese

pc: John Kemp

pc: John Kemp

So, it has just hit me that it’s November, which is not only shocking because of the bounty of Christmas décor in the stores, but also because it means I’ve been here for over two months! In that time, I’ve travelled to cities within Switzerland, to Scotland, to Norway, and I may have a potential Croatia trip in December. However, even with all the incredible experiences I’ve been having here in Europe, there really is no place like home, and what better way to remember it by than food? That’s why, in this issue, I’ll be sharing my Grandma’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese recipe, a simple recipe that always brings me home.
My Grandmother grew up during the Great Depression, a period of incredible world-wide economic downturn causing millions of men and women to lose their jobs, resulting in widespread poverty across even the wealthiest nations. However, out of this suffering came some rather quirky but unforgettable gems in the world of food such as bread and butter pickles (this term coming from the cost-effective pickle sandwiches that were comprised of pickles, bread, and butter), milk toast (literally warm milk and toast with a little sugar), and my Grandma’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese. Let’s get to the recipe.

Grandma’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Yield: One 2-litre casserole of macaroni and cheese
Start to finish: about 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • A standard wooden spoon of all-purpose flour

  • 1 tbsp. butter, plus extra to line casserole dish

  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

  • ½ - 1 cup milk

  • Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste

  • 2 – 2 ½ cups elbow macaroni (uncooked)

  • ½ - ¾ cup Cornflakes, lightly crushed

  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted

Method:
1. Boil the macaroni as per package instructions until al-dente. It is imperative that you do not overcook the macaroni as it will cook further in the oven later.
2. Set the oven to 350˚ F.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom, or a bain-marie, if you prefer, combine the flour and butter over medium heat. When a homogenous mixture is formed, add the cheese and milk. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until all the ingredients have formed a creamy sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Remove the sauce from the heat and add to the strained macaroni in the pot you cooked it in. Mix well until all of the pasta is coated with the sauce.
5. Butter the inside of a 2-litre ceramic or glass casserole dish. Pour in the macaroni and spread evenly in the dish. Set aside.
6. In a small bowl, combine the cornflakes and melted butter. Mix well until all the cornflakes are coated with the butter. Spread evenly across the top of the macaroni, making sure to spread from edge to edge.
7. Bake at 350˚ F for about half an hour to 45 minutes, or until the cornflakes have become crispy and just slightly browned. Enjoy!