The King Of Macaroni and Cheese

When I was a Culinary Arts student at Johnson & Wales University my roommates and I made Macaroni and Cheese in a small electric coffee pot late at night in our dorm room. These pots were not allowed and so we went about our Mac and Cheese making under the most clandestine of conditions. You would think we were making Chrystal Meth. We had “look-outs” outside our dorm room and we pulled down the window shades.

You would also think a bunch of Culinary Students would be making some sort of complex, luscious Mac and Cheese recipe, but sorry to disappoint the reader, we were using boxes of Kraft Mac and Cheese that cost us one dollar. However, when one is drunk or about to get drunk, Kraft Mac and Cheese fit the purpose for a few hungry freshmen. But this was never good enough for me as I indignantly ate the coffee pot made Mac and Cheese while thinking there has to be a better Mac and Cheese out there than this boxed stuff. Intuitively I knew one day, Mac and Cheese would take over the world and be on almost every menu across the country. I wanted to be ready.

From those Mac and Cheese dorm days forward I searched the internet for thirty years for the best Marconi and Cheese recipe, which is remarkable considering there was no internet thirty years ago.

For many years to quench my hunger for some outstanding Mac and Cheese I often indulged in Howard Johnson’s frozen Mac and Cheese, but still I wanted to make my own because I am stubborn that way. (And yes, Howard Johnson’s Mac and Cheese is outstanding, I don’t want to hear any crap from you food snobs.)

For years, the recipes I’ve tried were the béchamel based ones (flour and butter {roux} milk and cheese, sometimes a few eggs yolks). Those recipes tend to dry-out quickly and the next day became a pasty and tasteless glob of white unappetizing mass that would be better used for patching holes in your walls or for padding a bra, certainly not fit for human consumption.

One day, after finding out that the super market discontinued Howard Johnson’s Mac & Cheese I became devastated. However that night I had a creamy dream in which I was the King of Marconi and Cheese. It involved me inside a giant Le Creuset pan with butter, cream and variety of cheese and I was wearing a crown made of fusilli and was splashing around a creamy pool of goodness. I didn’t want to wake from this dream, I mean who would, but all good things come to an end, or do they?

I woke smiling and quickly decided to make my dream come true for I believed my dream was some sort of divine intervention from the Marconi and Cheese Gods or perhaps Howard Johnson himself.

I ran to the store and grabbed everything I needed. First, I went to the deli counter and ask for a variety of sliced cheeses, three slices of this, six slices of that, then onward to the cheese counter where I bought small pieces of cheese, the expensive ones you can get for a few dollars, all you have to do is ask the cheese manager to cut you a few dollars worth of the cheese of your liking. They won’t refuse you. (I have no pride when it comes to food). When I lived in New York I had no problem going into expensive gourmet markets and asking for three dollars worth of black truffle Pate or four dollars worth of Foie Gras, sure it was just a smidgen, but I got a taste. On a few occasions I dressed up and ask for sample tastes of caviar, pretending I was some sort of caviar aficionado. I always acted displeased with the sample and a different kind was offered.

Back to the Mac and Cheese, home from the store with my cheesy treasures and after boiling a pound of Pasta (Fusilli to say true to my dream) I slowly, on low heat, melted a stick of butter, added a quart of cream, and all the cheese I had gathered; American, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Provolone, Swiss, goat cheese, Romano cheese, Queso Fresco (a crumble Mexican Cheese) and I even added a touch of Blue. I like to use a variety of cheese, but I also give you permission to use whatever you like. Fear not orange American Cheese makes one hell of a Mac and Cheese!

After everything was a thick white saucy pot of decadent deliciousness. I then added to this glorious creamy mass a touch of nutmeg and my cooked pasta and stirred with utter excitement making sure I coated the pasta thoroughly with the creamy, artery clogging mixture. Quite honestly this recipe is worth making your life a tad shorter, after all, something’s are worth dying for and this Mac and Cheese is definitely one of them. Look, simply put, if this is not the best Mac and Cheese you ever had I will eat my Fusilli crown or your coffee pot.


About johncpicardi

Welcome to my blog. I am the author of the novel Oliver Pepper's Pickle and the published plays The Sweepers and Seven Rabbits on a Pole, both plays have been produced off Broadway and around the US. I am a graduate of Johnson & Wales University where I majored in Culinary arts. I have a BA from The University of Massachusetts and an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. This blog is about food and food memories and every other fantastic and scrumptious thing to do with it. My appetite and passion for food is large and runs deep, sometimes its indulgent and wild and other times wholesome and simple, often humorous and always immeasurable. I grew up outside of Boston and spent many hours of my childhood in front of the TV watching Graham Kerr (The Galloping Gourmet) and Julia Child prepare all kinds of luscious meals that would make my mouth water. Other days I’d follow my mother and two grandmothers around their simple, tidy kitchens as they busily prepared hearty fragrant meals, hand-cut pastas, preserved fruits and vegetables, baked yeasty breads, spicy cookies and frosted lopsided cakes. I was there by their side asking questions and helping where needed and there were plenty of times I was ordered to leave if I was in their way. It was a given that by the time I graduated High School I would be going off to Johnson & Wales University to study Culinary Arts. Those years were fine and good. I loved the hands on creativeness of cooking whether it be the simple lesson of washing a sink full of colorful salad greens, trussing a chicken or peeling a gorgeous carrot or the complicated lessons of making a French Country Pate or Julia Child’s Cassoulet or making Brioche, it all thrilled me and my dream had arrived!
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3 Responses to The King Of Macaroni and Cheese

  1. Cupcake says:

    I went back to very begin to see how what this food porn extravaganza grew from and clearly it came from genius. Because the holy grail of sinful food that is Kraft Mac and Cheese is mentioned. Why are you not on Food Network?!?!?!


  2. Jen says:

    Is there an actual recipe here? If so, I could
    not find it. It is just a few slices of each kind of cheese?


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