Even though I try not to cook out of the same cookbook twice in a row, the Prize Winning Recipes from American Beauty Macaroni was calling to me again this week. Since the mediocre sucess that was Mexican Macaroni Casserole last week, not much has changed for this cookbook. It is still kind of creepy, and the recipes are still from institutions.
In that vein, the recipe I picked for this week is something that was created by Winning S. Pentergast for the Detroit Public School System. Now, I am a newer Michigan resident, and didn’t go to school here, but if anyone out there went to the Detroit Public Schools in the 1950’s, let us know if you remember this recipe. I would love to hear about it!!
Sorry about the bad quality on this one, guys. The scanner is down, so I had to make do with a photo. I swear, when one piece of equipment around here goes down, everything goes down.
Anyway, this plucky little macaroni loaf is notable for two reasons. The first is that it looks like a rubber brick with fake blood on it. The second reason is because it contains that crazy mid-century ingredient, pimentos. Gotta love pimentos. They used to put it in everything!
You can see the aforementioned pimentos in the center of the ingredients. That jar of pimentos actually is from the clearance rack of the grocery store. You know the place where they sell expired baby food and 3 day old donuts? Anyway, I usually don’t shop on that rack, because I am scared of food poisoning, but one day I walked by and a big splotch of red caught my eye. There was this huge stack of jarred pimentos for a quarter each. A quarter! I had been shelling out like $2 each when I needed them for previous MCMenus. I checked the expiration date, and it was a nice, far away 2012. Score. I bought 6 jars and was pretty proud of myself for the rest of the day.
The melted butter, flour and seasonings in the pan.
The flour roux, bubbling away nicely.
Here it is after the first small addition of milk.
The thickened sauce, with all the cheese melted in. It actually looked really good and very smooth. Way to go, Winning!
Fresh parsley and the famous cheap pimentos. This is actually starting to look pretty good.
In the pot with the cheese sauce.
Here it is, colorful and mixed in nicely.
A nice action shot, taken by Tom, of me pouring. As you can see, the macaroni is already in the mixture. I must have been distracted and forgotten to take a picture of that step. Ah well!
The loaf in the 8 inch pan, ready for the oven. It looks sort of pale and weak looking here, but that may be because I used a white cheddar.
Fresh from the oven, golden brown and delicious.
The first bite. As you can see on Tom’s plate, I must not have cooked the flour mixture long enough, because the loaf definitely did not come out as a loaf. It wasn’t as stiff as the picture, and we ended up just scooping it out with a spoon. Also, Tom used homemade hot sauce instead of tomato sauce on his “loaf”.
“So, how is it?”
Here he is, shrugging his shoulders!
“It is good,” he said, “a little floury, but it tastes pretty much like mac and cheese.”
I took a bite. He was right, it just tasted like mac and cheese, but good mac and cheese. I liked the taste the pimentos and parsley added, and I was glad I hadn’t cooked the cheese sauce too long, because it was nice and creamy. For once, one of my mistakes turned out ok!
The Verdict: Good. If I make it again, I will cook the cheese sauce a little longer (but not much) and probably add at least twice as much cheese. Probably more. If you want to try a mid-century recipe, I recommend this one!