Every time I make a mac and cheese I declare it the best I’ve ever made. There’s a reason for that. I grew up hating mac and cheese (also lasagna) because my dad hated cheese. So if a friend’s mom made it for dinner, I’d move it around on my plate and feign a sudden bout of appendicitis. It wasn’t until I got older and started eating cheese with my cheese-loving friends that I came back around to mac. As I started making it myself, and understood what it really was–a white sauce with lots of cheese melted into it, spread over noodles and baked–I could appreciate it as a way to put obscene amounts of cheese on a plate and call it dinner. I’ve made many an obscene mac and cheese since then (one with three cups of cream, one with blue cheese, Gruyere and cheddar) but the most obscene–and delicious–of all may be the one I just made from my friend Garrett McCord’s new cookbook Melt. It’s a mac and cheese for the ages.
Eating paste has a special allure, when you’re a kid. First off, there’s the smell, which is chemical and funky. Then there’s the texture, the main pleasure behind eating paste, a texture like white peanut butter, but thicker, barely spreadable with the little wooden stick you dab into the jar. I’m not sure that I ate a lot of paste as a kid (though I was definitely a kid of whom people probably said, “He eats a lot of paste”) but I do believe I’ve found the adult corollary: canned cream of mushroom soup.
Here in L.A., there are restaurants that do a gourmet grilled cheese night. It’s a nice idea: you get to go to a fancy restaurant (like Campanile, for example) and spend far less money than you’d normally spend there for dinner. Only, I find it hard to justify spending ANY money on grilled cheese. It’s the kind of thing anyone can make at home (in fact, this may be the one dish that Craig–who doesn’t cook at all–is better at cooking than I am). Last night I decided that I’d do our own Gourmet Grilled Cheese Night to prove that you don’t have to be a fancy restaurant to spend your night frying bread in butter and waiting for the cheese to melt.
Do people who cook do it for attention?
It’s a surprising question, one I hadn’t really considered until I wrote that sentence. But, I mean, c’mon. You can’t be a fan of this blog and ignore the fact that, well, I’m kind of needy. With all of my videos, comic book posts, and my face always in the banner, you wouldn’t exactly call me a shrinking violet.