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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Beyond the Book: Family Traditions

Hi, I'm Kara Cochrane, Elaine's heroine in Her Kind of Man. 

When I was a little girl, we always went to my grandmother’s house for Sunday dinner.  My grandmother and grandfather had eight children, so when everyone got together we had a houseful. Nobody was ever in a hurry to leave.  After we ate, the adults sat around and talked for hours while the children ran around outside exploring or playing in the creek that ran through my grandfather’s property. 

Unfortunately, after my grandmother’s death, we discontinued those Sunday dinners.  Looking back on it, I think we made a mistake. Getting together each week helped us feel connected to our family, our heritage. It kept us grounded.

My husband’s family still has a big dinner on Sunday.  They always gather at the farmhouse where Ross and I live. Ross added a dining room to the house not long ago which gives us a lot more space.  My mother-in-law cooks most of the food. All of us have offered to help, but she won’t let us. I think it makes her feel useful and happy to cook for her boys and their families.  The picture below shows our new dining room.  The chandelier and most of the furniture are antiques.  Ross and I love them.  All of the furniture we bought for the other rooms is new, but we saw this table, chairs, and chandelier and loved them so much we bought them on the spot.  Don't you love the arched doorway?  Ross is the one who thought of that.

My mother-in-law is a great cook, so let me share the recipe for her macaroni and cheese. That’s one of the things we had for lunch last Sunday.  Do try it.  It’s totally delicious.

Macaroni and Cheese


3 cups macaroni
1 egg

12 ozs. Sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3 cups milk.

Ritz crackers (optional)

Cook the macaroni until done, about 7 minutes. Don’t overcook it. Drain and place into a baking dish sprayed with Pam. Add the grated cheese and mix. Beat the egg and milk and pour over the noodles and cheddar. Mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste, but don’t skimp on the pepper. If you like, crumble some Ritz crackers on the top. Bake at 350 until golden brown on the top. Don’t overcook it.

This recipe calls for butter, but my mother-in-law doesn’t put it in. She says it makes the food too greasy.

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