Luby’s Mac and Cheese: A History
By Chris Luby
Every year, we survey our campers at the end of the term and ask about their favorite things from the summer. And every year when it comes to food favorites, Luby’s Mac and Cheese undoubtedly shows up at the top of the list.
I am often asked by campers who see the mac and cheese on the Daily Gear menu if it is my recipe, and I proudly say “Yes, it is!” Then I go on to explain that it really is more of a family recipe than one that I can call my very own.
In 1929 (well before the Luby’s website states) my grandfather, George Luby, opened a restaurant in Dallas, Texas called Luby’s Cafeteria. When the war broke out it sent my grandfather and his brother, cousins, and uncles overseas to fight and the restaurant closed as a result. But when they returned in 1947, they reopened their doors, and it was at this point that Luby’s as we know it got its footing in San Antonio.
I have many memories of going to various Luby’s restaurants growing up in the Dallas area. I got the same meal every time: square fish, mac and cheese, green beans. When I was younger I HAD to get lime Jell-O, but I would later move on to chocolate icebox pie as my favorite dessert. To this day taking a bite of Luby’s mac and cheese fills me with warm memories and an undeniable feeling of comfort.
So how did this recipe make its way to camp?
When Lonehollow began in 2006, we pooled our favorite recipes while planning the menu – ones that reminded us of the best parts of our childhood so that campers could experience that same happiness. It was without hesitation that I suggested we use my family’s recipe for mac and cheese.
Now every summer on Field Day, the last full day of camp, after a full 12 hours of friendly competition, everyone gathers in the fully decorated Dining Hall for the much anticipated final meal of the term. The menu for this dinner is the same every year and remains a camper favorite. It features crispy chicken tenders, fresh rolls, a vegetable medley, and of course Luby’s Mac and Cheese.
I love being able to share this dish with the Lonehollow family, and it brings me great joy every summer to see hundreds of campers and counselors enjoying and honoring my grandfather’s legacy.
While we are gathered together in our homes, this is a great opportunity to bring some Lonehollow cheer and comfort to dinner time. It may take more work than opening a box of Velveeta Shells and Cheese, but the results are well worth it, and I know your campers are sure to enjoy a little taste of Lonehollow!
Luby’s Mac and Cheese
Pairs well with “Wavin’ Flag” “Sweet Caroline” and “Lean on Me”
- 2 cups dry elbow macaroni
- 3 Tbsp nonfat dry milk
- 3 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 3 Tbsp melted butter
- 1 3/4 cup boiling water
- 3 cups shredded American cheese
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Cook macaroni according to package directions
- Pre heat oven to 350 F
- In a large mixing bowl, stir milk powder, flour, salt, and butter together
- Gradually add boiling water to the mixture, stirring constantly
- Add 2 cups of cheese and stir till smooth and creamy
- Stir in macaroni and transfer to lightly oiled baking dish
- Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes
- Remove foil, top with remaining cup of cheese, and bake for another 10 minutes