Monday, January 16, 2006

Football and Mac-n-Cheese

Yesterday, made a big, steaming dish of macaroni and cheese to take to a football party. I don't normally like to take a dish to someone's house, but I was craving it, and the alternative is worse: Eating it all myself!

I didn't grow up in a macaroni and cheese household. Vague noodly dishes came out of mom's slow cooking, electric casserole dish. They took a long time, and they were really soupy. It can't explain it -- and I've never tried to duplicate it. I was thrilled when I finally had my own kitchen and could make macaroni the way it said on the box!

And then I discovered the real deal -- the northern version of luscious, cream, bread-crumb-topped goodness. The recipe I like best? The custard version from The Perfect Recipe: Getting It Right Every Time by Pam Anderson from Cook's Illustrated ( 1998, Houghton Mifflin). In the book, Anderson analyzes a few versions of popular favorites, and with macaroni and cheese, the technique she settles on is old but good -- evaporated milk, eggs, and cheese which cook inside the dish to make a creamy sauce. Oh, so good!

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