"Your body is not a temple, it's an amusement park. Enjoy the ride."
My siblings and I did not grow up with macaroni and cheese. I know. It's like I have to turn in my "kid" card or something.
You see, Momala and Dad didn't exactly grow up with it either, so it never made an appearance on our dinner table. Not sorry at all, as she made the best spaghetti sauce I have ever had in my life. It took ten hours of cooking and, although it sounds odd, her secret ingredient was a cup of brewed coffee. It had a deeply exotic flavor and, as much as I have tried...never been able to replicate it.
This particular recipe is a mac-and-cheese lover's dream. Four cheeses. [Ed. note: Turns up the porn music.] Over the years, I have made a metric ton of mac and cheese for my clients, and have over a dozen different varieties on my menus. Typically, after trying a recipe for the first time, notes sprout around the margins with any changes I personally make to the original script, i.e., "Do again," "awesome," "needs tweaking," "BF likes it," "add to client menu," or the killer "do NOT make again." On this recipe, well...
"Holy Shit! Great!!!!" [Ed. note: Take it from a guy who wrote and edited for a magazine that literally had its name, with one exclamation point, trademarked: Four exclamation points is serious.]
Ooeey, gooey, stringy, melty goodness, with a crusty golden top and phenomenal flavor that both kids and adults adore. In fact, on my menu it's called "Adult Mac & Cheese." [Ed. note: Porn music continues.]
This recipe comes from the late Anthony Bourdain's Appetites. The BF and I are longtme fans of his books and television shows, and for me, personally, he had a monumental impact, instilling a great respect for food, the animals themselves, the restaurant business, and the people behind every aspect of meal creation.
A quick aside: two years ago Bourdain was on a spoken-word tour in San Francisco. On previous tours, I had tried to get tickets for the BF and I, but they had always sold out too quickly. This time, I was a redailing machine and scored the tickets. Excited as I was, my personal-chef schedule was so busy that I couldn't adjust my client for the night of the show, so the tickets ended up being given to my dear friend Maria, who of course loved it. Was disappointed that I didn't get to see him, but I assured myself Bourdain would come back to San Francisco again on a future tour.
Of course, that will not happen.
At the show, Maria was kind enough to buy me a copy of Appetites as a gift. Very thoughtful gesture at the time, but now, considering his passing, I cherish it more than ever. If you look at the picture below, you can see the ragged bookmarks and Post-It tabs demarking the dishes I have made and have yet to try. When I open it up now, I feel like hugging my loved ones a little tighter, for a little longer.
I may or may not be traveling to parts unknown anytime soon, with or without reservations, but hopefully channeling his spirit I will continue to share my table and break bread with people I love. Old friends and new. People who look, talk, dress, or vote differently than I. Am not one to want to sound as if on a soapbox, but I believe food brings people together in spite of any differences, and think Bourdain believed that, too.
Going to miss you, Chef.
Adapted from: Anthony Bourdain, Appetites: A Cookbook
Number of servings: 8-10
NOTE: This makes a large amount of mac & cheese, but it's easy to cut the recipe in half for four servings.
I'm Jacquie, personal chef & recipe developer in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Lover of books, bourbon, chocolate and movies.