In the Vegetable Section

As we wait for the Good News of Easter Sunday, I give you a memory of Easter past, present, and future.

Alleluia. Christ is risen.

The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia.

The Holy Eucharist: Rite One I, The Word of God, Opening Sentences (To be said from Easter Day through the Day of Pentecost)  

The Book of Common Prayer (1979) 

 

My parents hosted a large friends group for Easter dinner for many years

All ages and stages of these dear friends whom we made into family

Their people are my people

We ate in the mid-afternoon after church

We had the same menu every year

Ham glazed with Dr. Peet’s pecan praline glaze – which deserves its own dissertation

More than one green vegetable of some sort

Biscuits from The Palms in Ridgeland, SC. See Palm Sunday, supra

Usually a seafood side dish because The Lowcountry

Deviled eggs

and

The Star of My Mother’s Buffet: Macaroni Pie

It’s what some refer to as macaroni and cheese

We call it macaroni pie

It’s super old fashioned to call it a pie

Back in the old days, anything baked was in a pie:

Chicken potted

Shrimp

Tomato

Oyster

Vidalia onion

Four and Twenty Blackbirds

Our group would be super excited for my mother’s macaroni pie, which receipt came from Potluck from Pawleys, the old cookbook from the long-gone Cassena Inn on the north end of Pawley’s Island.

This is in the Vegetable Section of Potluck from Pawleys

Most old Southern cookbooks place macaroni pie squarely in the vegetable section

Most Southerners consider macaroni pie to be a vegetable

It should be under Meats or Eggs and Cheese or Pasta

But it isn’t

The ladies at the Cassena Inn put it in the vegetable section, so I will, too

The Cassena had amazing food

I have a super early memory of staying there with my parents and grandparents without a lick of air conditioning

My grandmother’s cousin, Ruth Turner, owned the Cassena years and years ago. Then, Mrs. Hope and Mrs. Hiott.  Then the Prioleau Family

The cookbook is by Mrs. Hope and Mrs. Hiott

This macaroni pie is their receipt

But, it’s really my mother’s at this point

It’s so good

Like SO damned good.

My mother-in-law asks me to make it for family gatherings

My mother always makes it for family gatherings

Mine is pretty good, but, really, my mother’s is much better

As a wedding present, my parents would often give the macaroni receipt to new brides along with a macaroni server in the couple’s silver pattern

We received a macaroni server when we got hitched

Stainless bowl that can’t be tarnished by the eggs in the macaroni.

Right here: Fairfax by Gorham

img_8897-1
Yours Truly reflected in the bowl.

That was an awesome present

Years ago, my mother gave this receipt to a friend who called up after making it to ask what had been omitted as it couldn’t be the same as it wasn’t as good

It was

I recently sent it to a friend who sent back pictures of an empty casserole dish and smiling sated faces

My mother just has been making it so long that she has the touch for it these days

She’s not stingy with the receipt

She’s not stingy with the mountains of grated cheddar cheese that go into the dish

This goes really well with ham and pretty much everything

This is a double making

Just divide in half for a single

You’ll never make another version.  Promise

Serve it tomorrow with your ham or your lamb

 

Yancey O’Kelley’s Macaroni Pie

(or Potluck from Pawley’s Macaroni Pie)

 

16 oz. box macaroni noodles cooked according to package

1 lb. extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated by hand

6 or 7 eggs, beaten

3 c. milk

1 tsp. salt

Pinch of sugar

6 tablespoons melted butter

Heat oven to 350

Grease a 9×13 casserole/pyrex dish really well. With butter. Not with Pam. Butter. Not with margarine. Butter.  Not with olive oil. Butter.  Not with vegetable oil. Butter.  There’s a reason. The butter works on the edges of the pie.  (See below)

Layer half of the cooked noodles in the bottom of the dish. Spread half the grated cheese over the layer of noodles. Repeat. I probably use more than a single LB of cheese.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, add the milk, salt and sugar, and, then, the melted butter which will solidify when it hits the cold egg and milk mixture, which is important.  I use all 7 eggs. The original receipt says 3 or 4 eggs.  More eggs makes it more custard like.

Slowly pour the milk and eggs over the cheese and noodles.  You’ll end up with butter on top of everything. That’s the magic right there.

Bake in a 350 oven for 45 minutes.  Often best to cook this on a rimmed baking sheet as it can bubble over and make a mess in the oven.  If it gets too dark on the top, cover with foil.

Let rest 5-10 minutes before serving.  It’s even better the next day, reheated in the same oven.

The crispy corners are my favorite and those one or two stray noodles on the top that can get a little char in the oven.  The crispy outside comes from the butter used to grease the dish. Buttter liberally.  That’s good advice for a lot of cooking. Butter liberally.

My mother made this for Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and any time anyone requested it in our family.  She’ll be making it tomorrow.  So will I.

If you ever make this kind of macaroni, you’ll never go back to chemically mass produced boxes of mac-n-cheese, which, frankly, may be the bane of my culinary existence

 

Happy Easter to all of you

 

Alleluia. Christ is risen.

The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia.

 

 

 

 

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