Mac & cheese

pasta and cheeseThis is a true story about today’s lunch, mac & cheese. This is how I cook. Kids, don’t try this at home.

Every day I have a huge salad for my main meal. Except I never seem to be able to time my shopping in order to have enough ingredients to last a full week, so almost always on the day before I go into town for groceries I have to get creative.

Sometimes that involves actual cooking.

Today was that day.

Normally I make macaroni and cheese with, um, macaroni. You know, the pasta that’s shaped like little tubes with a bit of curl to them? I don’t know why macaroni is the pasta of choice for a mac & cheese recipe, but it is. I didn’t have any macaroni, but I did have some kind of spiral pasta, probably whole wheat and organic. I can’t tell you for sure, because it was in a jar that had been vacuum sealed at a time in my life when I didn’t bother labeling things because “I wouldn’t forget”.

Never mind about that. Pasta is pasta, far as I’m concerned. I dumped the contents of the 32 oz. Mason jar into salted boiling water. Gave it a bit of a mix. Wondered – briefly – just how long I was supposed to cook it. Oh, come on! All it takes is tasting it for doneness every so often, right?

A few scorched tongue’s worth of tasting later, I decided I was too hungry to wait for the pasta to get softer, so I drained and rinsed it. I then melted about a third of a stick of butter in the pot. Note that normally I make mac & cheese with yogurt so it’ll be nice and moist, but I didn’t have any yogurt. No probs. I don’t think you can have too much of melted butter, yogurt or not.

The cheese part of mac & cheese must be cheddar, however. Absolutely no choice there. Unfortunately I had less than 4 oz left of extra sharp and I knew that wasn’t going to add up to enough. Since I had no yogurt to make up the cheesy difference I decided to sacrifice what remained of my cream cheese, about half of a block of Philly. Okay, perhaps a little less, as a certain amount of cream cheese went into my mouth before it got to the pot of pasta, which was at that point reheating in the pool of butter. I stirred it all up while the cream cheese melted, then gave what I had so far a taste, just to be sure I was on the right track.

You’d think with all that butter it would be moister, but no. So I added some olive oil. Gave it a taste. Something… oh right, forgot the cheddar cheese.

When the mess of melted cheese and pasta had achieved the proper consistency I gave it another taste. It was okay but bland. There wasn’t enough cheddar to lead the flavor party. A heaping spoonful of Dijon mustard added just enough zing. And then a dash or two of sea salt. Hmmm… maybe…

Rosie began barking. What in the world? I looked at her sitting up alertly looking at me. She was right. Enough was enough. I think she was warning me I was headed down the road to clogged arteries if I didn’t stop now. I tasted the final product and pronounced it perfect.

Except. sadly, I had taste-tested so much that I wasn’t hungry for mac & cheese anymore. In fact, I was too full for even one more spoonful. I was actually… over full. Uncomfortable, really.

So that’s it. That was more-or-less my lunch, that was how I made it, and that’s what I’ve done today instead of editing the sequel to Dark Green. Honestly, it could be worse. I mean, now I have no room left for that second sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mints that is calling to me from the freezer.


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About lifstrand

Lif Strand began writing fiction when she was a kid. Nobody read her stories. A former Arabian horse breeder and endurance racer, then reporter and freelance white paper writer, Lif lives in a straw bale house off-the-grid and writes fiction once more--or at least whenever she’s not scooping horse poop, taking photos, or playing with fabric art.

One Response to Mac & cheese

  1. Dede says:

    Hmm. Wondering what you would have come up with if no pasta was available!