Uncomfortably Queasy

Weekend memories of my mom’s Kraft Mac and Cheese don’t fill me with comforting ease. For some reason, the mere image of a half-eaten bowl in the sink gives me imminent deathly chills inside, like the time I started pissing on myself after snorting Crystal Meth prior, thinking it was just exceptionally pure, uncut Cocaine, because after only 1 line, 5 hours later, I kept pronouncing out loud to myself, “This shit is great”, like a coked-out Tony Tiger used to bad coke which tastes like chalky AJAX.  In my mom’s defense, she worked full time as a Loan Officer for JP Morgan in Manhattan, so I can’t blame her for mailing it in on Saturdays by throwing together some Kraft Mac and Cheese, knowing my dad’s half ass, serially undersalted, sickly looking, off yellow, scrambled eggs made before Basketball practice on Saturdays weren’t filling me with unconditional lovely cheer either. Again, I can’t totally shit on my parents half-hearted weekend creations in the kitchen throughout the eighties and early nineties, because Brunch wasn’t a thing yet, nor was any craft put into making mac and cheese from scratch yet, using a plethora of fancy foreign, pricy cheeses such as specs of imported Parm, always sultry smooth Italian Fontina or rind free French brie.  Lobster Mac and Cheese wasn’t conceived yet by some fabulous, brunch visionary hot spot restaurant owner in West Hollywood who longed for something dreamier to sink his teeth into at noon on a Saturday hungover, basking in the gorgeous LA patio sun after being burnt out on being reared on fried egg topped cheeseburgers from Fat Burger in Van Nuys as a kid, who shared less in common with Adam Carolla growing up, than the Wheatgrass bartender for Jamba Juice.

So, for Super Bowl Sunday this year, this old G, decided to make my own Mac Daddy version of Mac and Cheese, to make my 3 Koshertarian kids yell with unmatched glee, “Party time, excellent, I feel the funk.” Not, “Who’s that black chick with Austin Powers in that commercial Daddy? Is she a mini me version of Queen Latifah? I don’t get it.” My plan of attack was to create a Mac Daddy and Cheese that wasn’t to cheesy like the Phantom of The Opera halftime show, because nothing screams half time entertainment more than a bunch of jilted, creepy looking dancers in masks putting on a zero thrills production of Phantom Of the Opera meets Friday The 13th during the year of COVID 19, which has unmasked all the propagandists in the media, who prop up fakes news working class heroes such as Bruce Springsteen who blames his manager for never paying taxes till he got on the cover of Times Magazine after Born To Run blew up but I digress. Bruce pretended he was on Acid to avoid being drafted yelling, “War, what’s it good for? Besides fodder for my upcoming Born In The USA album, about my fake news brother who dies in Vietnam. Does your office look like Salvador Dali took a giant kaleidoscope shit on your desk? And why does Uncle Sam keep pointing at me? It’s not my fault Sandy is a miserable, knocked up diner waitress, who was born to cry in the dark and die alone in the Swamp Thing State.”

Still, the Super Bowl is an American tradition, so I based my Mac Daddy and Cheese dish around the east coast standard, always unifying, pretentious free, yellow Landa Lakes American Cheese. Understand, my wife openly detests American Cheese because she’s a more evolved hick who grew up in the hinterlands of Brisbane Australia, who grew up playing with mud in the yard, knowing she only grew up with 2 TV stations in the outback and if you’ve seen one episode of Astro Boy, you’ve seen them all.  So, making my star standalone dish for Super Bowl Sunday based on yellow Landa Lakes American cheese required some level of American made balls, knowing what potential, all knowing resistor fury, lurked in the nearby distance as Tom Brady continued the greatest winning streak in life ever recorded, which helps when you’re reunited with the always reliable Gronk, as your go to, money in the bank, tight friend.  At the same time, I didn’t want the American cheese to be the sole attraction, similar to The Weekend surrounding himself with the most unattractive, peaceful protestors against the savagery of self-esteem enhancing plastic surgery within the Sunshine scurrying state.

My kids love Broccoli, like myself, assuming you make it with love, destem all the florets, blanch them in a bucket of ice water you’d pour on Bill Parcels if it was made of Gatorade back in the day, before I sautéed them in a butter, high end olive oil, sliced shallots and peeled off bits of garlic, to ensure the gorgeous flowers of green, matched the intensity of hop forward wonderfulness of my pounded 90 Minute Dog Fish IPA prior, which took me only 9 minutes to finish my second.

I used pasta macaroni shells from some Italian pasta maker, which cost 3 buck max in addition, made a basic bechamel, including, butter, flour, milk and spicy brown mustard to help the green goodness stick together with the torn-up bits of American Cheese and olive oil massaged Mac Daddy shells, which looked like glistening tubes of inhalatory perfection.  The only complaint I received was Daddy using a tad too much fresh ground pepper to spice things up, beyond memories of boxed Kraft Mac and Cheese, which are too uncomfortably queasy to replicate for the mere ease of convenience sake for my taste.

I’m not going to call my Mac Daddy and Cheese the Tom Brady of Mac and Cheeses, although my 4-year-old son continuing to polish off his bowl even after his mac and cheese cooled is still sustained excellence in my book to.

Michael Kornbluth