Tag Archive | Macaroni and cheese

Bring in the New Year with Soul Food

soulfood_complex_comSoul Food is a historic tradition amongst the African-American community on New Year’s Day. Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s has been considered good luck for at least 1,500 years. Collard, turnip, mustard greens and golden cornbread are also good luck.  Eating soul food at 12:00am on New Year’s Eve brings luck. It is often said “Peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold.”

Soul Food is a familiar term used for food traditionally prepared and eaten by African-Americans in the United States. Many of the various dishes and ingredients included in “soul food” are part of our Southern US history. The style of cooking originated during American slavery. African slaves were given only the “leftover” and “undesirable” cuts of meat from their masters (while the white slave owners got the meatiest cuts). Despite the “leftover” ingredients, southern whites have grown to love soul food as well.

Soul Food also represents the comfort of lovingly prepared, good food and the gathering of family and friends.

Today when preparing soul food, we use healthier ingredients for seasoning. Instead of “fatback” or “pork fat” we use smoked turkey or sausage. So in the coming days, bring a little luck to your humble abode, and indulge in the historically prepared comfort of Soul Food. Here are a few of my recipes to try:

Collard Greens
Black-eye peas
Macaroni and Cheese
yams
Sweet Potato Pie

Macaroni and Cheese

A staple dish for the Thanksgiving season in many African-American households, one might think that this dish has Italian roots! Well you could say that, but this classic American dish was originally prepared in Virgina by Thomas Jefferson’s daughter, Mary Randolph in 1824 when Jefferson returned from Italy with a pasta maker.

There are many ways to prepare Mac n Cheese. Some folks prefer their mac and cheese baked into a solid block, while others like noodles prepared loosely in a rich, cheesy Velveeta sauce. But there’s nothin’ like black folk Mac n Cheese prepared with piping hot elbow macaroni held together with chunks of melting cheddar, covered with a crusty layer of butter-baked breadcrumbs.

We typically go to our very good friend’s house for Thanksgiving dinner each year. They host a lovely dinner, but my Mom is also invited, and she never fails to bring her traditional Mac n Cheese.

macncheese

Ingredients

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups milk (or enough to smooth the mixture)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Fresh black pepper

Topping:

3 tablespoons butter
1 cup plain bread crumbs

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.

When pasta is finished cooking, drain with cool water. Add egg and quickly fold into pasta. Add butter, garlic salt, pepper, cheddar cheese and milk. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish.

Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.