Make this Straight-From-the-Restaurant Horn & Hardart Automat Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe at home. This Lost Favorite Recipe will bring back fond memories for many of you.
Photo by Edsel Little
Horn & Hardart Automat Baked Macaroni and Cheese
A Horn & Hardart Automat Copycat Recipe
Horn & Hardart Automat
Automats were huge marble-sheathed cafeterias where rows of little vending windows popped open when enough money was inserted. These were popular, busy restaurants, where in the late 1950s, for under $1.00, one could enjoy a large, if somewhat plain, meal purchased with nickels usually obtained from the cashier. In their heyday they served 800,000 people a day.
The first New York Horn & Hardart Automat opened in Times Square July 2, 1912. They featured prepared foods behind small glass windows and coin-operated slots, beginning with buns, beans, fish cakes, and coffee. Later salads, puddings, meats and vegetables were added. Some of the rectangular dispensers were heated, some cooled.
Automats were particularly popular during the Depression era, when their macaroni and cheese, baked beans, and creamed spinach were staple offerings.
Automats, owned by Horn & Hardart and several other companies, spread around the country and could be found in the downtowns of most larger and many mid-sized cities.
All three of us have fond memories of eating at the Automat in Downtown Louisville – although some of us (Alton) remember it better than others. 😉
Restaurants close. It is a sad fact of life. Sometime these are our favorites. And often our favorite meals are lost forever to us. But thanks to some of the chefs, owners and restaurants willingness to share their recipes, during their heydays or even after the final meals are served, we can still enjoy these wonder memories at home. We are proud that we can help the restaurants share these recipes with their fans.
Horn & Hardart Automat Baked Macaroni and Cheese, served from 1912 – 1991, is a Straight-From-the-Restaurant Recipe.
Horn & Hardart Automat Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
- 1/4 pound Elbow Macaroni
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- Dash White Pepper
- Dash Red Pepper
- 1 1/2 cups Milk
- 2 tablespoons Light Cream or Half-and-Half
- 1 cup Cheddar Cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup canned Tomatoes diced
- 1/2 teaspoon Sugar
- Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Melt butter in the top of a double boiler.
- Blend flour, salt and white and red pepper in gradually.
- When smooth, add milk and cream, stirring constantly. Cook for a few minutes until it thickens.
- Add cheese and continue to heat until it melts and the sauce looks smooth. Remove from heat.
- Add cooked macaroni to the sauce.
- Add sugar to the tomatoes. Add tomatoes to the sauce.
- Pour mixture into a buttered baking dish. Place in preheated oven and bake until the surface browns.
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Photo of “Tomato Mac ‘n’ Cheese” is by Edsel Little and is used by permission under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) Creative Commons License. Read the Full License Here – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode. Photo of “Automat Display” by John C. Chu and is used by permission under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) License. Read full license here – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/legalcode. Photo of “Automat, 977 Eighth Avenue, Manhattan” by Berenice Abbott and is in the public domain. “This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1926.” Thank you, Edsel, John and Berenice. Great Pictures. Photos may be “representative” of the recipe and not the actual finished dish. All photo licenses listed were correct at the time of the posting of the page. Recipe was found on the December 17.2012 New York Times Diner’s Journal – The New York Times Blog on Dining Out, in a article titled “The Automat May Be Long Gone, But Its Recipes Are in Demand” by Glenn Collins, by way of the WayBack Machine, and was originally provided by The New York Public Library and Horn & Hardart. It has been “adapted” only as much as necessary to fit our formatting and recipe conventions. Horn & Hardart Automat information courtesy of The New York Times, The New York Public Library and Wikipedia, where it is used by permission. Additional Information Courtesy of Wikipedia and is used by permission.
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