After meeting her 102-year-old Haitian grandmother for the first time in more than 20 years, Author Cindy Similien-Johnson embarked on a cultural journey to rediscover her Haitian heritage. It was through food that she felt a deeper connection to her roots.

Take a look below at one of the recipes she features in her food memory book, Let’s Speak Haitian Food: Stories from the Haitian Diaspora on Cuisine, Community, and Culture that will jazz up your Thanksgiving dinner with some Haitian flavor.

Makaroni Gratinen – Macaroni and Cheese 

This cheesy dish will disappear in minutes. It’s that good, and it’s so simple to make!


1 box (16 oz) macaroni

3 cups heavy cream

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 tablespoon salt

6 cups shredded cheddar cheese


For Macaroni: In a large pan, boil macaroni for 7 minutes, or until slightly tender. Drain, and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine heavy cream, eggs, black pepper, garlic powder, salt, and 5 cups of cheese. Stir in cooked macaroni.

In a greased pan, spread macaroni. Sprinkle Cheese on top.

Cover with foil, and bake at 450° F for 45 minutes

Her book is a culmination of half a decade worth of collecting, editing, and compiling heartfelt food memories and recipes from more than 100 members of the Haitian Diaspora. The stories contained in this book will be shared for generations to come, and cultivate the importance of passing down traditions, stories, and memories.

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1 Comment

  1. Hi,
    Even though we call it macaroni au gratin, we don’t actually use macaroni but penne or rigatoni.

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