Read an Excerpt
Something about the gray November morning drew Karen's thoughts back home to Oklahoma, to the childhood memory of her mother's kitchen and homemade macaroni and cheese. She smelled the rich aroma from the oven and imagined a brown crust forming on top and creamy cheese bubbling up through the vent holes.
Of course, her own children had never experienced this sensual delight. They knew only macaroni and cheese out of a bright blue box, that too yellow-orangy kind. So today Karen would share with them a piece of her childhood.
Pulling down her cookbooks, she searched for a real macaroni and cheese recipe. Why hadn't she copied her mother's? Guess it seemed too ordinary at the time, merely the carbohydrate accompaniment to Mom's meatloaf. Ah ha! Found one. Four cheeses. Mustard. White sauce. They'd love it.
Tommy, age 5, and Daniel, age 2, helped Karen grate the cheese. Seven-year-old Kate helped her pour macaroni into the boiling water.
By the time they sat down to dinner, the kids had heard many stories from Grandma Dodo's kitchen. Rather than serve it at the stove, Karen brought the oozing casserole to the table and triumphantly set it in the center. It was rich, creamy, and . . .
' . . . too white, Mommy. It's too white. This isn't macaroni and cheese!'
The three kids peered at their steaming, lumpy white mounds. Each tried a forkful, gamely, for Mom's sake, but no one except Karen enjoyed it.
In a week or so they would return to the bright blue box. But Karen's memories survived intact, with a new one she would laugh over in time.
Sometimes Karen grabs the bright blue macaroni box because that's all the cooking the day will bear --- or the only thing she has on hand. Other days Karen journeys down the road beyond macaroni and cheese to explore new dishes, some of which will be 'experiences,' but others that will become family favorites.
In this cookbook, we invite you to lift your sights to the horizon beyond macaroni and cheese. Realizing there are some days when the boxed variety is 'what works,' venture to also try new dishes. Dare to have company sometimes, or to take a meal to a friend.
We want you to think of this book as your friend. So, to help you on your journey, we've included tips and tidbits, each with its own identifying icon.
Your guide into the 'land beyond' is Evey, for Every Mom. She could be your neighbor, sister, mother, or friend, who has come to sit in your kitchen and keep you company while you cook. Evey wants to make your time in the kitchen easier, sometimes speedier, and more fun.
Since part of the joy of cooking is having a buddy, we'll suggest ways you can involve young helpers in the kitchen, or ways you can constructively occupy them so you can cook by yourself.
The breaking of bread together is a time for families to give thanks and reflect on the occupations of the day. So we also give a sampling of Scriptures and table graces.
Moms shared with us their kitchen catastrophes, which we pass on to you. Whatever the worst that has befallen you in the kitchen, take heart: you are not alone.
Two final icons help to defuse anxiety from the process of having company and enable you to more easily take a dish to a potluck, or meals to a friend.
Each of the recipes in Beyond Macaroni and Cheese was provided and tested by moms involved in a network of support groups called MOPS, or Mothers of Preschoolers. Their families liked the recipes, and we think yours will too.
Key to Icons
Tips from Evey --- your neighbor, sister, mother, or friend
Kids can keep you crazy in the kitchen, or they can help you like this. . . .
A sampling of Scriptures and table graces
Kitchen catastrophes we have known . . . in case you thought yours were unique
Company-caliber dishes and tips to wow your in-laws and friends
Dishes that travel to potlucks or friends