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Betty Crocker’s Lumberjack Macaroni

Cooking my way through the 1950 edition of this Betty Crocker cookbook.

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One of my prized possessions is my Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook. It was my grandma’s, and then it was my mom’s, and now it’s mine, and it holds an esteemed place of honor in my kitchen. (Highest shelf, top right, next to a portrait of Julia Child.) It’s the ninth printing of the 1950 edition and definitely shows some wear and tear but that’s just because it’s been well-loved and well-used — those tatters are well-earned. Our copy opens right to the cookie page because my family has made cookies from it so many times throughout the decades but I got to thinking… why haven’t I made much else from here?

It was time to change that. There are so many vintage gems in this book — and so many that my grandmother probably loved — that I felt like I should probably take some time to discover them. So I’m taking you along with me for the great Betty Crocker Cookbook Cookthrough. And today we’re working on the “Macaroni Supper Dishes” chapter!

The Supper Dish chapter is divided into different sections like, rice, pasta, and even further narrowed down to just “macaroni.” That’s the area we’re working in today. Most pages have a key recipe at the top and variations you can take on that main recipe below. I let my producers pick which specific macaroni dish I was going to work on, so it was a surprise until I was on camera.

They chose Lumberjack Macaroni, which ends up looking like this:

The recipe has a little illustration of a lumberjack working and an inscription below it that reads “Mr. James Ford Bell, founder of General Mills, world traveler and epicure, actually made this dish for us himself in our test kitchen. It’s one of his favorites.” (If you weren’t aware, Betty Crocker is a General Mills invention, and not a real person.)

And Mr. Bell’s Lumberjack Macaroni is a really interesting dish! It’s VERY quick. You just boil the macaroni and spread it out on a hot platter (I used a casserole dish)…

… Then you sprinkle it with American cheese, chili sauce, salt and pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. There’s a note that says “Do not be sparing!” says Mr. Bell” when it comes to the Worcestershire sauce. So I just measured with my heart.

You pour “piping hot melted butter” over the top and then stir everything together with two forks until it’s creamy.

We had sliced American and not grated like the recipe calls for… so ours didn’t get quite as creamy as intended, but it was still delicious.

It has a tangy tomato base thanks to the chili sauce, but also a nice comforting cheesiness. It tastes simple and approachable — like something kids would gravitate towards — but the Worcestershire adds a nice savory umami. I’ve never had anything quite like it! And it barely requires any cooking.

Yield(s): 6

5m prep time

10m cook time

Rated 4.7 out of 5
Rated by 3 reviewers
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  • 8 oz uncooked macaroni
  • 2 cups American cheese, grated
  • 2-4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup piping hot melted butter
  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain and spread out macaroni on a large hot platter.
  2. Sprinkle with American cheese, Worcestershire sauce, chili sauce, and salt and pepper.
  3. Pour melted butter over the top and mix with two forks until creamy. Serve at once. Enjoy!