Thursday, May 16, 2013

Summers in the 70's

Me and my sister circa 1970
If there is one dish that brings me back to a more simpler time and reminds me of summer, it is macaroni salad. This was the staple of our summer evening barbecues back in Wilmette, Illinois, when I was growing up. Swimming and lounging around the pool all day, the adults would drink homemade Pina Coladas or Margaritas, Santana or The Doobie Brothers would be playing on the stereo, and my dad would fire up the grill with his electric starter wedged in a tower of charcoal briquettes. It wouldn't be long before a neighbor would stop by and join in on the conversation and take a dip in the pool. Our back yard backed up to a forest preserve and you could hear the music of crickets and cicadas, while fire flies lit up the dark of the night like little blinking beacons in the air. I can remember the smell of fresh corn on the cob cooking on the grill, as they steamed inside their husks and the outer leaves became charred. Baby back ribs, hamburgers, hot dogs or skirt steaks were accompanied by baked beans with barbecue sauce and brown sugar, which baked in the oven all day. And there was macaroni salad. I can remember sitting at the kitchen table, in the house that I grew up in, chopping red onions, celery and tomatoes with my sister, Linda, as we made the macaroni salad together.  After dinner, we would play penny poker in our screened in porch. We would light candles in little votive holders and taper candles were inserted in the tops of old wine bottles, with the wax that had dripped down along the sides from many candles before. The wax created a beautiful mixture of color and texture. There was no TV, just the sounds of the forest, the music from the record player and the laughter of my family. Funny how one simple dish can bring back so many memories.

Classic Macaroni Salad

1 box of elbow macaroni
Hellman's mayonnaise
Tomatoes, chopped
Red onion, chopped fine
Celery stalks, chopped fine
Lawry's seasoning salt.

Cook macaroni as instructed on box, rinse, drain, cool. Mix chopped tomatoes, onions and celery with the pasta. Add mayonnaise and season with seasoning salt to your liking. Chill in refrigerator for about two to three hours, or all day. Before serving, taste and adjust seasoning with extra mayo or seasoning salt if necessary. Enjoy!


1 comment:

Linda Huff said...

Brings back fond memories. Still a great receipe!

Seasonal Foods