Who Made the Macaroni n’ Cheese?

Let’s be unapologetically Black for a minute (and always if we’re being honest cause’ this is a safe place), food is usually at the center of our most important events…holidays, baby showers, wedding, and yes, even funerals. We don’t just cook a few hor d’oeuvres for an event, we feast.

And, if you do not use salt (Lawry’s to be exact), onion powder, and garlic powder as a base for any seasoned item, do not volunteer to cook.

If your macaroni does not have a cheese pull with the burnt edges, do not volunteer to cook.

If no one has ever closed their eyes and sat silently while chewing after tasting your food, don’t bother sis. Having “nasty” food will have you on a lifelong ban list throughout the family.

“Soul food” originated during slavery. If we know our history, we know that we were fed scraps and leftovers discarded by our “masters.” Slave owners reserved the best nutritional foods for themselves. Slaves were given what was left of the animal remains once they picked through the food. As survivors, slaves took what was given to them and made meals for their families. However, this style of cooking was birthed out of survival. Since then, we have passed these same dishes from generation to generation. Improvising and improving along the way.

Which brings me back to “Who made the macaroni”? Macaroni and cheese is a staple amongst most family dinners but specifically Thanksgiving. There are several debates on how to make macaroni. Do you use an egg or make a roux? What cheeses do you use? Stovetop vs baked
macaroni and cheese? There is one debate that is unamionous amongst Black folks…. there are NO vegetables in macaroni and cheese! Periodt!

Now we will let you slide with a seafood mac n’ cheese if we are feeling fancy. And speaking of which, here is one of my personal favorites from Ms. Patti: (And can we please just take a moment to admire this living legends BEAUTY! WoW!)

In our community, we cook with love, and seeing the pure joy of someone enjoying our food is food to our soul. Because food is the focal point of most gatherings, it is imperative that not just anyone brings a dish. Who cooking? Suffices as a question and a proverb. Sunday dinners at Moms’s are our happy place and our fellowship around food runs deeper than just simply good food but we will still leave your dish covered and off to the side if it’s not worthy. You have been warned!

Natasha Gay

Although Natasha Gay has many talents, there is one PASSION that has been carved in her soul since a young child, and that’s writing. Her work reflects her spunky personality, blunt opinion, her broad intellect, and overall love for life.