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Uniting the World With Mac and Cheese

(by Sandra Bilu)

Macaroni and cheese is like adhesive for my family. I learned the initial recipe from my Aunt Henrietta, who had both an oven and a stovetop version. I would sit in the alcove of her small, old-fashioned kitchen in the Germantown section of Philadelphia and savor the flavor of every elbow noodle on my plate. If she knew in advance that I'd be visiting, the plate was on the table awaiting my arrival.

When I was a young woman with my first daughter, Gabriela, a lady named Mrs. Brooks, who used to babysit, taught me an even tastier version. I remember writing the recipe under her contact information in my telephone book as we talked. That became my go-to recipe, improved over time with additional ingredients, the most important of which is a ton of love. Love as an ingredient can totally change the flavor of food.

Each of my daughters now knows the mac and cheese recipe. Gabriela became interested when her boyfriend fell in love with it. She recently went to a party that his f