Our grandfather, Bassett Arthur was a cook in the Navy Seabees primarily in the Philippines in World War II. After the war he remained a chef and cook at restaurants in Brady and Abilene, Texas.
He just happened to be the great nephew of Charlie Bassett, the legendary first sheriff/marshal of Dodge City. Kansas (The fictional one was more famous: Marshal Matt Dillion of TV’s Gunsmoke).
I was mesmerized as a young boy, having the honor sitting on a red Naugahyde bar stool peering over the counter of the Bell Diner watching his magic.
Like the conductor of a symphony orchestra, Grandpa would twirl, wave, and manipulate his spatulas across his grill and pans like no other.
He left me several of his cook books and handwritten recipes, many I’ve enjoyed over the years. (Check out his Green Beans Salad here.)One of my favorites is his macaroni salad. Here’s my version that I’ve modified to near perfection and have received many compliments for. Enjoy.
One 16-ounce package salad macaroni pasta
1 cup red onion, diced
1 cup yellow or white onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup medium Cheddar, diced
1 cup Swiss cheese, diced
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
1 cup salami, diced or bacon, crumbled
1 cup dill pickles, diced
1 cup diced or sliced black olives
1 tablespoon H-E-B garlic salt
1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to heat preference. I like more, but this is a key secret ingredient).
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1. Add 2 quarts of water to a medium stockpot and bring to a boil. Add macaroni and cook about 9 minutes (or according to package directions. Don’t overcook to prevent it from falling apart when tossing. Rinse until cool. Drain well and let it dry out a little bit.
2. Add pasta to a large bowl. Gently fold in onion, celery, cheeses ,salami (or bacon) dill pickles, and black olives. Refrigerate uncovered, overnight (or at the very least 2 hours).
3. Mix the garlic salt, minced garlic, white pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, dry mustard and celery salt together. Add to salad. Fold in the pimentos. Fold in 1/2 cup of mayonnaise at a time. Refrigerate again for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.