Saturday, March 2, 2013

Macaroni and Cheese: Yesterday, Today, and Forever

Whenever I prepare macaroni and cheese that doesn't take 15 minutes to make and arrives on my plate in a fantastic orange hue unavailable in nature, it is typically my great-grandmother's recipe. I have explored a variety of macaroni and cheese recipes, all of them good, but none like Valley Tinsely's.

She passed away in 1985, but I remember her--the smell of her apartment, her dishes, her soft spoken manner (her daughter, my grandmother, must have taken after another family member). She was German and Irish and what a blessing it is to remember loved ones through such an enjoyable means as sustenance. It's a human experience we all share: we enjoy those who have gone on before us through our senses and our tangible memories.

It's hard to compare any other macaroni and cheese to the original and most ideal macaroni and cheese. So I won't.

When I started this recipe, I asked Erik what we should have in addition to the dish. I think of macaroni and cheese as a side--don't you? He's already enjoyed the Gruyere cheese of our onion soup experience so, upon learning that particular cheese was involved this recipe as well, he decided that we would call it a casserole and roll it out without accoutrements.

I have a few kudos and criticisms for Double Cheese Macaroni and Greens:

1. My favorite pasta is rigatoni. I had no idea what mezze rigatoni was because you can't find it in the poor or rich person's grocery store. It's super fancy. SUPER fancy.

2. Gruyere cheese is totally awesome. It's got this smokey, meaty, hearty flavor and the texture is medium soft. Everyone loves cheddar. It's a given.

3. It's healthy (kind of) because it has Swiss chard, which is high in vitamins A, K, and C.

4. As a negative, I really don't like the cooked milk aspect of this recipe, making a sauce. There's just something about it that's a little "homemade from a jar" to me, concerning the taste.

 5. I bought the Swiss chard organic. This is the issue with organic:

A dead spider fell out and it was full of dirt. On the flip side, it also was not full of deadly, cancer-causing chemicals, so a minor glitch is what we'll call it.

We enjoyed this dish with a Williamsburg Riesling, which is safe with most pasta dishes, although a good bet for a cream sauce is usually a Chardonnay.

It's not Grandma Tinsley's, but it's an introduction something of my own to pass on one day.

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