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Her father was born in Memphis, the son of a sharecropper, and met her mother in Ohio. My uncle moved to Cleveland and my father and another brother followed.” In her family, macaroni and cheese was “a sacred thing.” It wasn’t until she went to an integrated high school that she learned that her white friends did it differently. “I never knew that people ate macaroni and cheese for dinner, not as a side item, until I got into high school. We’re in charge of the meal.” She’s the cook, with one exception: Her sister Lauren makes the macaroni and cheese. “I know you do a sharp cheddar and a mild cheddar, but I don’t know the ratio.She’s the only one in the family who has perfected their mother’s version. And I’ve heard them talk about how they’ve added either sour cream or cream cheese, but I’m not sure. One year, she made a version from soul singer Patti La Belle that involved seven kinds of cheese.This American comfort food leads a double life, but only some of us know the secret. It was one of those volunteer duties, the one where you agree to talk to your kid’s class about your job.I figured it would be easy: I’d ask the kids what their family eats at Thanksgiving and we’d do a middle-school version of Brillat-Savarin’s old saw, “Tell me what you eat and I’ll tell you who you are.” I stood at the wipe-off board and wrote down what the kids called out: Turkey, dressing, pumpkin pie.Macaroni and cheese on a holiday table would be as out of place as ripped blue jeans in church.The debate over this sounds like a joke, and sometimes it is: On websites and Twitter feeds like @soulphoodie, you find cracks about who makes the best macaroni and cheese, with memes like “Becky’s Mac and cheese” — instant, creamy, made on the stove — vs. In black families, you associate macaroni and cheese with comfort, with your mother, your aunts.The items were small enough to be taken without someone noticing them.Mitchell underlined the seriousness of the thefts, saying the items are pieces of Marion County’s history.
Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of the bowl and sign can call Thomas at 438-5944 or Crime Stoppers at 368-7867 or visit The bowl is from a Spanish mission on the Ocklawaha River dating back to the 1600s, Mitchell said. The handmade wooden sign was used at Silver Springs in the 1930s, '40s and '50s, Mitchell said.The thief or thieves pried open the artifacts' cases, he said.Scott Mitchell, director at the museum in Silver Springs State Park, said the copper bowl and the Ross Allen's Reptile Institute sign were removed from a back room over the weekend, probably while the museum was open.The thefts were not discovered until Monday, Mitchell said.