At the moment, I am Not Taking Control of Stewart putting the kids to bed. Instead, I am on the other side of the house, trying to ignore all the misbehaving that I hear wafting down the hall. I am being so good about Not Going In There and Intervening. Aren’t I? He hardly ever reads this blog. He’s sure to appreciate that I allowed him to handle the situation.
I stood outside the doorway, a battle waging in my brain: should I go in? No, I should let him handle it. But they’re walking all over him! But that is how he handles it. And so on.
You know what tipped the scale, in the end? Macaroni and cheese.
In my constant struggle to obtain domestic harmony, I have tried so many ways to master the weekly dinner menu, it would spin your head. This week’s attempt is giant pots of food. Today’s giant pot is homemade macaroni and cheese, recipe courtesy of the mobile app from Epicurious.com. And it is very delicious.
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
5 cups milk (Epi says combo of milk and heavy cream, I just use whole milk)
1 tbsp ground mustard
2 lb. shredded sharp cheddar
1 lb. elbow macaroni
While boiling the macaroni, melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour gradually. It’ll make a pasty glop. Gradually add milk and whisk occasionally. Stir in mustard. Turn up heat a little bit and add cheese little by little. Stir occasionally using soft spatula, making sure to scrape bottom of pan. After about 5 minutes you’ll have a creamy cheese sauce, but don’t worry if there’s some cheese that’s not totally melted. Pour cooked macaroni into giant baking pan or casserole dish, add cheese sauce and combine evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.
Incidentally, have you ever seen one of those diet and workout reality shows in which the experts lay out what food the subject has eaten over a set period of time? They’ll bring the person into a room where tables of foodstuffs are displayed – boxes of cereal, chickens, bags of fast food, giant bowls of glop, etc. The expert will say “THIS is what you’ve eaten this week alone!” And the subject stands there groaning, shamed and horrified.
I think about things like that when I make this macaroni. Oh sure I’ve replaced the cream with more whole milk, but still, if you think about it that way, you can easily imagine yourself sitting down to a meal with 4 bowls: one with butter in it, one with a pile of cheese, one with a little mound of flour, one with buttered macaroni, and a giant glass of say, heavy cream. Sometimes this line of thought helps me control my appetite, but this macaroni and cheese is much too powerful. It wins every battle.
Everyone loves this mac and cheese. Even my children. Who are sleeping now, thank God. And Stewart, who, by the way, turned 50 this weekend. He’ll always be 11 or 12 years older than me, which means I’ll always be his young wife. Ha! Seriously though, he deserves all the well wishes a birthday brings, because he works hard, he’s handy around the house, and he agrees with my design choices. We spent his birthday outdoors – hiking in the foothills before it got too hot, then down at the marina on our boat and in the park, and then we all went to dinner, against all our better instincts, at The Cheesecake Factory. By then the kids were so tired they had to work really hard to misbehave.