I like macaroni and cheese. In high school, that and baking a cake were the extent of my cooking. My mom even entered a recipe on my behalf for a church cookbook one year. Not a cake. Oh no, it was the instructions from the back of the Kraft macaroni and cheese box.
My kids also like mac-n-cheese. It was a staple in our house. Of course, I always tried to pair it with broccoli or green beans. Balanced meals, you know.
Some stories need to be remembered. Told over and over. Handed down from one generation to the next. And not just the ones considered to be pleasant. Also, the challenging ones. Those are the ones that show resilience, teaching valuable lessons.
This is one of those stories. And, of course, it involves macaroni and cheese.
My parents have always been hard workers. But like many others, hard work did not always keep hard times at bay. Some years were more difficult than others. And when I was little, money was tight.
My dad was a carpenter and was working on a house about an hour away from our home. One day, mom and I went along for the ride. Well, sort of. You see, he had not yet gotten paid for his work.
Macaroni and cheese…they had one box left. So, we went with him, taking the box along with us. While dad was working, mom cooked the mac-n-cheese on the job site in an electric popcorn popper. That way, all three of us would have something to eat for lunch.
That same day, the woman that owned the property retrieved a frozen chicken from her kitchen. And though my dad was a little uncertain about that chicken, it went home with us that afternoon, along with his paycheck. It was available that day after work.
Perhaps some would think of this as a sad story. Not me. I see the resilience of two people, able to keep going, making the best out of a difficult situation.
Anytime we talk about this time in our lives, Mom always reassures me. “No matter how hard things got, we always made sure you did not go without. You always had what you needed.” Without a doubt. ❤️
Truth is, not only did we survive as a family, but we also thrived! And though my cooking skills have improved a little, I still like macaroni and cheese.