I have about five or six meals that I clearly remember my Mom making very regularly when I was a kid. I never really thought about them much until I was grown and wanted to make them for myself. They were just something my Mom made and I loved them because she made them. I never questioned why she used certain ingredients or how other Moms made those same dishes. All I knew was my Mom made this and it was good. Do you feel that way about meals from your childhood? I could eat a million others that have the same names as what my Mom made, but they will never taste as good to me because it's not how my Mom made it. It's no disrespect to the other cooks. Their food is perfectly good and I'll sure enough eat it. But it's not Mom's. And, of course, my Momma raised me better to never say such a thing to another cook. You just say, "Thank you and that was delicious!". And appreciate that someone went through the trouble to make you a meal with their own two hands. It would be rude and unladylike to ever comment that someone's food is not as good as your Moms....but still. In our heads, you know we are thinking it, am I right?
So this here is my Mom's Macaroni Salad. Now, I know, it ain't the same as your Moms or Grandma's or Uncle Marvin's or Great Grandma Betty. And that's alright. You make yours the way you like it. There's room in this world for plenty types of macaroni salad. But if you've never had the pleasure of making this dish on your own, then maybe, just maybe, you'd like to make it this way. I have only made one slight change to it, and that you'll see in just a minute. And I'll tell you too that my Mom only ever made this with green peppers and radishes as the veggies. That's it. She never, ever swayed from those two added vegetables. I'm not sure why, but she kept it real simple that way. And that's how I still enjoy it. But I do sometimes add other stuff in when it starts popping up in my garden. I'll add fresh tomatoes or cucumbers or maybe even some diced ham and fresh peas. But the base of the recipe always stays the same.
1 (16 oz.) box macaroni
2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 cup radishes, diced
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
salt & pepper, to taste
This right here is my little secret weapon when it comes to some creamy pasta salads. If you have a pasta salad recipe that calls for just mayo, consider adding a touch of chicken stock to your dressing. It helps smooth out the mayo and keeps the salad from getting too "goopy" while adding a bit of extra flavor.
Prepare macaroni according to package directions. Drain macaroni well, and rinse with cold water until pasta has cooled.
Whisk together well and season with a bit of salt and pepper.
I do enjoy about a tablespoon or so of freshly ground black pepper in this.
Cover with plastic wrap.
Now, this next step is really important. You need to put it in the refrigerator and let it cool for at least 3 hours. This really helps the flavor come together and give the pasta a bit of time to soak up the mayonnaise mixture.