“Moving on is a simple thing, what it leaves behind is hard.”
Mac & Cheese But Better!
Today’s post has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with this unbelievably delicious Mac & Cheese recipe… just thought I would note that straight off the top. Today’s post is just a story which I hope you will enjoy.
I’ll start at the very beginning, which as Rodgers & Hammerstein once famously put it, is a very good place to start.
Big changes are afoot… and as I always say… change is good. Be Still & Eat HQ is moving location after 13 years. They have been 13 lovely years but it was time for a change. Leaving a place that you have made home, raised children, gardened tirelessly and mopped water out of the basement every time it rained hard is difficult… okay well maybe not so much that last bit.
I can be satisfied as my beautiful garden had its swan song last year when I was invited to join the local garden club’s annual tour. My garden was one of only 8 and I couldn’t have been more honoured. Oh the weeding that took place up to that day! I covered the event in a blog and you can jump to it here.
Okay so let’s get to the story… some of you may recall the blog I wrote recently about my 90 something year old Korean neighbour… if not you can jump to it here... She is a charming and rather bossy tiny little woman who I have come to be rather fond of and I like to believe that she feels the same way about me.
I came home the other day, my arms loaded with boxes, bubble wrap and packaging tape to find Old Mrs. Kim standing on my front lawn. She gestured to the SOLD sign and said in Korean what I can only assume was… “So what’s this all about?” I nodded yes and smiled at her. Her face fell, she clutched her hands in front of her heart and made a face of heartbreak, then brought her bawled fists to her eyes in the universal symbol of crying, then repeated the whole process a few times to make sure I got the point.
I would have paid a million dollars for her grandson to arrive just then so that he could translate, but he didn’t so I’ll give you my rendition of what I think she was saying in between her truly heartwarming charades. I think it was something along this line… “Why are you going? You raised a family here… You spend so much time in the garden… Who are the new people? I suppose they’re going to tear it down and build one of those ugly monster homes aren’t they? What about all the plants? What’s going to happen to them? You better be taking those damn cats with you… ” and so forth.
I will find her grandson at some point between now and move out date so that I can let her know how much I’ve enjoyed her company over the years… maybe I’ll even bring her over to the new place so she can boss me around over there too. I don’t suppose I have to tell you that I cried that day and in fact I’m crying while I re-read my words now. And what should someone who is sad do? Why eat comfort food of course!
Enjoy & Namaste!
- ½ lb bacon
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup butter (I always use unsalted) + 2TBSP for onions)
- 4 TBSP AP flour (whole wheat will work)
- 1½ cups milk (I use skim but higher fat will be... well you know... yummier:)
- 12 oz grated cheese (I like a combination of mozzarella and cheddar)
- 16 oz (450 gram) package pasta of choice (macaroni does seem the obvious choice!)
- Salt and plenty of fresh cracked black pepper
- Fry bacon in a large pan until crisp and set aside to drain on paper towel.
- Drain most of fat out of pan and return pan to heat
- Add 2TBSP butter and reduce heat to med low.
- Begin to carmelize onions... this will take close to an hour and must be done quite slowly to truly caramelize... it is SOOOOO worth it I promise!
- Meanwhile melt ¼ cup butter in a heavy bottomed pan and as it begins to foam sprinkle the flour over whisking all the while.
- Cook for a few moments over medium heat whisking to cook out the floury taste.
- Slowly add the milk, again whisking all the while. It will begin to thicken nicely. Continue to cook out the floury taste, probably about 3-5 minutes.
- Begin to introduce the grated cheese, stirring (you'll find a whisk at this point a bit unwieldy in the thickened sauce.
- If you haven't already cooked the macaroni this would be the time to get that done. Choose whatever pasta shape suits your taste. I thought a nice penne or rotini would make this look a little more grown up... but I was shut down!
- As always I recommend transferring the cooked pasta directly from the cooking water directly to the cheese sauce, but if you choose to drain it instead, please do NOT rinse the pasta... like EVER!
- Crumble bacon and stir with mac and cheese to incorporate.
- You can choose to do the same with the onion which will be beautifully caramelized by this point, or simply mound it on top for people to take the amount they might like.