Like most food bloggers, I usually share my experiments in the kitchen that turn out well.
But today that’s not the case.
Cooking is a metaphor for life in that sometimes things turn out as planned, sometimes they turn out even better than expected… and sometimes they totally bomb, for one reason or another.
Earlier this year, I was reading an issue of Fine Cooking magazine and came across an article about macaroni and cheese. It went through the steps of making the homemade classic dish, but gave you tons of options as to what ingredients you incorporated – from the kind of pasta, to the types of cheeses, to the choices of add-ins. I wanted to give their version a go, but knew that with my hubby deployed, an entire pan of mac & cheese would either take me weeks to eat, or would come out so delicious that I’d eat too much of it. So I waited until my Marine came home to pull out the article and attempt my own mac & cheese combo, using their suggested steps of creating it.
Last weekend while perusing the Little Italy farmer’s market, I spotted a stand for a company who makes homemade breadcrumbs. I purchased a package of whole wheat breadcrumbs with mac & cheese in mind.
I decided on cheddar and pecorino mac & cheese with broccoli, but from the start, this recipe just wasn’t meant to be.
I came home from the gym famished, which is never a good state of mind to be in when attempting a new kitchen creation.
My planning was not the best either. Since I usually use light butter, that was all I had on hand. I quickly remembered that light butter doesn’t break down the same when heated and combined with other ingredients – say, flour to make the cheese sauce. It was already looking a little funky when I opened the fridge to get milk and….
I had a flashback to 5 am that morning, when Adam told me that his milk had gone bad and he was tossing it. I obviously forgot this tidbit, as my brain is not really functioning at that hour.
But now that I needed it, I was reminded. I could have run to the store, but I already had things cooking, plus it was prime time for madness at the food store.
So I made a choice that sealed my mac & cheeses’ fate (for that day at least). I decided to throw soy milk into the mix instead, hoping that it wouldn’t be that big of a difference. I’ve done this with other recipes and it didn’t turn out to be a big deal. But not this time. I think the fact that the soy milk was vanilla flavored certainly did not help.
I gave Adam a taste of the cheese sauce, already knowing I was screwed, and his response was, “Hmm, what’s this supposed to be?”
I had already ruined a whole block of good cheese, but I couldn’t bear the thought of tossing a whole package of $8 breadcrumbs, (which I had already mixed with butter, garlic, and cheese), not to mention the pound of macaroni I had cooking.
After a few moments of sheer disappointment, I came up with Plan B. Dinner wound up being another kind of mac & cheese. It actually tasted pretty good, but it was just not the one I had in mind…
Baked macaroni with marinara sauce, chopped broccoli, & mozzarella cheese, with the breadcrumb mixture on top:
So I guess the moral of the story is that things don’t always work out on the first try, in the kitchen and elsewhere. But you better believe that I have this mac & cheese dish on my meal list for next week to try it once again! What’s the proverb? If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again 😉
Off to spend the afternoon going on a long walk with Harley, then mountain biking with my hubby!