Have you ever royally messed up a recipe so much that no kind of recovery will bring it back to edible form? The lockdown has brought with it various learnings for people. Most people have been talking about heavy introspection, getting time with the family or arriving upon philosophical learnings, the kinds that hadn’t struck them their entire lives. I on the other hand have a very important learning and an insight I just couldn’t hold back from putting on paper.
How NOT TO bake your Mac and cheese.
Now if you are thinking this is an absolutely banal topic to be reading about, you might want to stop reading ahead, I am afraid it gets even more ridiculous.
For starters, to give you guys context into what motivated this rant, I am someone who LOVES a good pasta and have been making different sauces for a couple of years now. So, if you’re wondering why I am so enraged & amused about one random recipe going downhill, this is a relationship I have built over years, believe me.
I started with a simple alfredo penne almost 10 years back I think and “graduated” to an aglio e olio over time, thinking it’s some sort of a development in my pasta making skills. I mean alfredo and pomodoro everyone makes, right? But to make a good aglio e olio or a ravioli requires some patience. Or so I’d think.
So, after doing a bit of a research I chanced upon Mac n cheese and realised it’s probably the simplest of them all. I mean a creamy Bechamel sauce (this is just flour and a bit of milk, no need to get thrown off by the name) is not rocket science and the other ingredients are cheddar cheese & boiled macaroni. That’s it! After roughly skimming (Read: overconfidence) through the recipe and “gauging” what it must entail, I immediately put the macaroni for boiling in hot water.
Soon I came to realise we had no flour in the house. Biggest red flag, I’d say. But just like all the red flags I am known to ignore so gloriously, I improvised and justified to myself how I could just pull off a Bechamel sauce without the flour. Big deal. Mistake number one. If the recipe says flour, put flour.
After this mini disaster, I stir fried mushrooms and poured milk on top. Of course, because of the lack of flour, my Bechamel sauce never got made. The milk never thickened. Now comes the best part. Despite having read in the recipe to not pour the cheese on to the sauce while the flame is burning, I decided because my sauce wasn’t thick enough, I should. Almost 400 grams of grated cheese was poured into the pan of boiling milk. What came next can only be expressed in an image that you see below. A huge chunk of cheese formed inside my milk and the milk stayed as is, I was so annoyed with the outcome that I decided to pour the whole thing into the macaroni and stir it. Don’t ask me why I do some things, impulse can be a thing some of us struggle with :P Disaster would be a mild way of putting it.
But regardless, you know what, I didn’t give up :P I made the Macaroni again later that night. I removed the chunk of cheese and kept it aside. The boiled pasta was still good. I bought flour and made a nice Bechamel sauce following the recipe to the T. Then I took the pasta and sauce mixture off the heat before putting the cheese in and folding it all in. I finally even made breadcrumbs and sprinkled some on top before putting it in the oven. And it was a success. My story isn’t motivating, insightful or a piece of information you would need in the day, but I hope it made you smile😊
Here's a nicer looking drool worthy mac n cheese off the internet.