Summer time fun is no fun at all without Mom’s Classic Macaroni Salad – creamy and rich in flavour with bell peppers and a little cheddar cheese; it’s the fond memories you’ll make which helps to round out this old-fashioned favourite.
Feeling a little nostalgic? My mom’s Classic Macaroni Salad is just the thing I need from time to time to make me feel better. As soon as I taste just one heaping fork full of this pasta salad, my senses are immediately flooded with memories of when life was simple and carefree.
Am I the only one that regularly associates the look and taste of food with memories? This macaroni salad reminds me of my mom, Sunday night dinners, and weekday mealtimes in the summer months. Mom was the queen of macaroni salad – and I have tried my best to recreate her dish just like she would have done. And, with this recipe, I finally have it right! I’m sure she would agree.
It’s not just this macaroni salad though that conjures up past memories for me. I’m constantly flooded by food-related childhood memories whenever I use Facebook. Many of the contacts on my friends list will often post pictures of their latest baked goods, their mealtime creations – and, most of the time, these dishes are dishes my mom would make for us when we were kids. And, nothing can every replace the foods you grew up with.
When I think of a classic macaroni salad, I think of perfectly cooked pasta, chunks of cheddar cheese, freshly chopped red and green peppers, and a dollop or two of green pickle relish. There’s just something je ne sais quoi about the addition of the green pickle relish. Add to that the creaminess of good mayonnaise and the bright, bold taste of yellow mustard, and, of course, a pinch of sweet, and a mouthful just makes the world stand still. Did I just go to far?
What I’m trying to say, Dear Reader, is that in some ways, simple and classic is best. Sure, there are many macaroni salads out there that boast different flavour profiles; some with capers, chopped celery, and fancy ingredients that are hard to find – cotija cheese, a drizzle of truffle oil, and even red wine vinegar! (Ok, that last one is not so bad!) But true to form and its name, Mom’s Classic Macaroni Salad uses none of those pish posh ingredients. You see, simple is best!
As far as my humble opinion is concerned, anytime of year is a good time for macaroni salad. In fact, my childhood found macaroni salad at nearly every Sunday dinner. (You’ve heard me mention Newfoundland Cold Plates before, right?) But even special occasion dinners like Christmas, New Years, Easter, etc. But, unlike all of those special and regular days, nothing makes macaroni salad more special than a beautiful summer day.
So, Dear Reader, break out the grill, invite over your favourite people, and serve up this macaroni salad – not only as a side – but as something you’re proud of and know everyone will like. My advice? Print out this recipe to give to your friends; they are certainly going to ask you for the recipe after they get a taste!
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Mom's Classic Macaroni Salad
- 450 grams macaroni, cooked according to package instructions, drained and rinsed under cold water until cold
- ½ small red bell pepper, finely chopped
- ½ small green bell pepper, finely chopped
- ¼ cup green onions, finely sliced
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, diced
- 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Placed the cooked, cooled macaroni into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
In a smaller bowl, add the sweet pickle relish, sugar, yellow mustard, mayonnaise, salt and pepper; stir well to combine.
Add the sauce to the macaroni and stir well.
Next, add the red and green peppers, green onions, and the diced cheddar cheese, to the bowl of macaroni and toss to combine.
Transfer to a glass bowl with a tight fitting lid. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
“Eating is so intimate. It’s very sensual. When you invite someone to sit at your table and you want to cook for them, you’re inviting a person into your life.” – Maya Angelou