Shamleless Plug

I'm embarking on a new part of my life that is happier and going in a direction! It's really refreshing.

I was married May 19th, 2012 to a great guy I met at the C.I.A and we're go excited to embark on a life together. He has as culinary degree to match my baking and pastry degree. It's going to be a Good life.

I hope you enjoy my thoughts on food and cooking. I am but a humble baker, who happens to love cooking and embraces the joy of food.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Macaroni and cheese

Sorry for not posting...whoever you are. Guess I'm a little tired after work.

No one is really around at dinner anymore. My sister is in Japan, my brother is house sitting and my mother spends every minute of daylight and some of what comes afterward outside planting and gardening, my dad is around, somewhere, but it usually just ends up being three of us or less, so I've done what I liked for dinner.

I wasn't exactly hungry, nor did I feel like copping out with a sandwich or pigs in a blanket. I wanted something with just enough effort to make me feel like I had cooked. So I settled on scratch mac and cheese. I used Trader Joe's multi grain pasta, so I'd feel healthy.

It turned out to be easier than the boxed stuff, actually. And much tastier. I used a sprinkle of cheddar, a slice of American, and a tablespoon each half/half and butter- added in reverse order until melted into a cheesy sauce. The cheese sauce was smooth and creamy, and turned out to be just enough to coat the pasta well without having scarce bits clinging to pasta, or to have it drowning in sauce.

To make me feel less guilty and to utilize leftovers, I cut some corn off the cob and threw it in to add a sweet texture and flavor contrast.

Turns out kid meals aren't too bad. I cooked Trader Joe's chicken nuggets to add a touch more protein.

I ate my meal a little guiltily, feeling like a child eating something a babysitter might make, sans scratch mac and cheese. But it was genuinely a decent meal; well rounded and good. Best you can hope for when you cook for yourself.

I feel badly that my boyfriend is on his own for meals, cooking for one can be un-motivating. When we were together at school we'd cook every weekend, all kinds of meals. Burgers, steak, pork, all kinds of chicken, braised, fried, baked, roasted and stir-fried. It was nice to have someone to cook with and for. Cooking for two is more friendly than mac and cheese for one.

I worried about what he might eat on the weekends; rec center food? Take out? THE VENDING MACHINE!!? I would have none of that. I sent him back to school with frozen pigs in a blanket, hot dogs and Annie's Mac and Cheese (more wholesome than Kraft by far) . This also includes all the stuff I left behind back at school: grainy pasta, brown rice, an assortment of spices and dry ingredients and snacks. It makes me worry less, and I know he can get hot dogs at the rec center, but I feel better knowing he's preparing them himself.

Eating and cooking alone can feel both lonely, but a chance to let you indulge in bizarre eating habits. I don't usually eat chicken nuggets in mixed company. Too many questions, justifying, and weird looks. Same with tuna. I only eat tuna when I'm home alone- that goes double for when I crumble chips directly into the tuna itself.
You can let yourself eat peanut butter out of the jar or put ketchup on rice. But then again, you won't be as motivated to slow roast beef or prepare a chicken stir-fry when eating for one.

I see these diets and ''lifestyle changes'' on tv and it makes me wonder how long they last. How lonely must it feel eating a vacuum sealed meal alone in the kitchen while everyone else you know is eating something they like with people they like? Eating can be largely a social experience and if you take that away, you're just eating to fuel your body- something nutritionists and ''trainers'' are telling people with weight problems to do. It just seems weird to me.

When I think of enjoying a good meal I don't just think of my favorite foods or indulging in guilty eating habits, but who I'm with and my surroundings. You can do that when you eat alone, you can enjoy your time and surroundings, but.....I'm talking in circles. I don't mind eating alone and sometimes I prefer it, but I just remember eating alone for months on extern, and when you're forced to do it, every day for months in a miserable situation, it can make you sour on the experience.

I guess the point I'mtrying to come to is if you cook alone, don't be unmotivated and cop out with easy frozen food. Stir-frys, pastas and pizzas are cheap and easy to cook from scratch and make you feel like you did something productive. Trust me, I work a lot of hours too and I understand how some days you'd sooner microwave soup than THINK about boiling pasta, but sometimes it feels good to go outside a routine and do something nice for yourself, like cook a good meal.