Saturday, February 4, 2012.
New Waffles. Carbfest.
That's not a typo. It's not supposed to be "crabfest." A carbfest--which we certainly have had more than a few times, although never before on purpose--is a meal dominated by pasta, potatoes, bread and brownies. In fact, that's about all there is to it. Lots of starch and sugar, very little protein or fiber. A large amount of fat--most of it from cream, butter and cheese--comes along for the ride.
Mary Ann is obsessed with publishing a book of the columns she wrote for several years for a North Shore newspaper. Most of the columns were about being the mom of little kids. She is supremely skilled at that endeavor, one that provided the peak enjoyment of her life so far.
Although she's been working on the project for many months, she's still getting flashes of inspiration on how to assemble the tome. She says the book screams for a few recipes. The galaxy of these dishes has macaroni and cheese at its center, with other forms of carb-loading stretching away from it. But since she never measured or timed anything (not even the first time she cooked a dish), she has to cook all the dishes again and take detailed notes.
I stayed in my cave while most of this went on, because a) I rarely ate any of that kidfood and 2) even if I had some details and suggestions to add, they would be either ignored or become a trigger for rancor. What do I know about writing recipes, after all?
Mary Ann's nephew Gary, who is passionate about MA's mac 'n' cheese, was there to sample. So was her brother Patrick and four of his seven offspring, all of whom have similar tastes. (It must be genetic.) They made and tried enormous vats of spaghetti, mashed potatoes, shepherd's pie, and macaroni. I had a few tastes here and there, but kept my mouth shut. The mac 'n' cheese was not bad, although I am beholden to the way my mother made that, with an eggy bechamel forming a matrix for the pasta, with the cheese all on the top. The hash browns were spectacular--Mary Ann's best dish. The brownies were the heavy, intensely chocolate ones that the Marys always make.
It was a day of unhealthy and unrewarding eating. Yet if I don't add a recipe for Mary Ann's mac 'n' cheese in today's newsletter, I will get at least a dozen e-mails asking for it. Someday, something about mac 'n' cheese will be discovered to be as addictive as heroin.
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