It is sad, actually it is ghastly, to think that a majority of American children think "Macaroni and Cheese" comes from a Blue Box. I shudder to think. As a southern mother, I am proud to say never has one of those Kraft blue boxes darkened my door or entered my pantry.
My children were brought up eating the real deal. Although from two different schools of thought - both my DH's mother and my mother baked excellent macaroni and cheese. However, they were entirely different. Let me explain.
My mother used my grandmother's recipe which was a serious cheesy macaroni dish that had a scrumptious hard cheese crust around the edges. She used an egg base with a bechamel sauce so her dish was easy to cut in pieces to serve. Left overs could easily be heated up - this was not issue, there never being any left over.
My mother-in-law made this incredible dish that bubbled with all the butter and cheese in it. She, too, used eggs so her dish could be cut and served. Her recipe called for spaghetti noodles in lieu of the traditional macaroni noodles so there was much more "noodle" to the dish.
I have my mother's recipe and have made it several times. Unfortunately, no one has been able to quite replicate my mother-in-law's recipe although several have tried. It is either not cheesy enough or lacks enough butter. My guess is practice makes perfect and eventually the secret will be unlocked and a (near) perfect dish will be revealed. For now, we just bemoan the absence of her rich cheese dish at every family occasion.
For me, I have launched off on my own when it comes to macaroni and cheese. I have found that there are recipes that, while are not the same as what my DH or I were
raised reared on, they or no less enjoyable. In fact mine is richer and cheesier, full of cream and several different types of cheese as well as whole grain noodles.
My attitude - if you are not going to go rich, creamy, and large, stay home. My DH shakes his head each time I bring my dish to the supper table. "It's just not the real thing'" he will say. Well it may not be, but they all seem to enjoy it and rarely does it last more than a day.
So, all I can say is - Out, out, Blue Box. And I pity those who know no better.