Ken’s mac and cheese recipe

Mac n Cheese
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Scribbled lists of ingredients cluttered the top drawer of my dad’s bedroom dresser. My dad, Ken, didn’t write directions because he didn’t need them. Like many Black families, recipes aren’t handed down on paper. My grandmother showed my father, who, with his own alterations, taught me. I grew up eating this recipe with my family at birthdays and celebrations. My dad showed me how to make it over and over again until I could master it myself. 

This recipe is a product of love and tradition that I would like to share with readers today. Here is the delicious mac and cheese recipe to make for, or with, your loved ones.


  • 3 cups whole milk 
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1-2 teaspoons table salt 
  • 7-8 cups cheese 
  • 1 box of elbow macaroni pasta 


  • 3 quart baking dish 
  • Whisk 
  • Medium pot 
  • Large pot 
  • Foil


  1. Over medium heat, heat the milk in the medium pot. This will take 4-5 minutes. Do not boil. 
  2. Add the macaroni pasta in the pot. Let it cook until it reaches a desired consistency, and set aside.
  3. Next, heat the butter over medium heat in the large pot.
  4. Once the butter is melted, add the flour and whisk continuously. When the mixture is golden brown, remove from heat.
  5. Then, whisk the warm milk into the butter-flour mixture. Keep whisking for 3-4 minutes. 
  6. Put the pot back over medium heat and continue whisking. The sauce should be thick and shouldn’t slide easily like milk. If the sauce is thin, keep whisking over medium heat until it thickens. If the sauce is too thin, turn down the heat, add milk and keep whisking. 
  7. Finally, add 6-7 cups of cheese to the sauce. Mix in salt and taste. Pour in the pasta and combine thoroughly. 
  8. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. Grease the baking dish with butter or cooking spray and pour the mac and cheese into the dish.
  10. Sprinkle 1-2 cups of cheese over the top of the dish, covering each pasta noodle. 
  11. Cover with foil and bake until it looks (as Ken would say) “bubbly and delicious!”

Next time you’re looking to take a moment to bond with your loved ones, think about heading into the kitchen. I hope you enjoy this family recipe!

Contact Sera Smith at [email protected].