In the last 30 minutes before bed time in our house, my family and I gather together to watch a little television. This is the “calm down” period right before bed. We try to find something that works for everyone, something that is age appropriate and educational. That usually rules out most networks and leaves us with either the Discovery Channel or the Food Network. This weekend we happened to catch an episode of the Ultimate Recipe Showdown. This episode’s challenge, the ultimate comfort foods.
This is a bad thing for me to watch at night. I like to eat. I writhe in anguish as I imagine eating the wonderful dishes that they prepare, knowing that my next meal is almost 12 hours away and the bowl of Frosted Flakes will not even come close to these culinary delights. This night was different. As we watched, the contestants made a lot of dishes that looked amazing, but one struck deep in the pit of my stomach. One called to me. Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese. I didn’t want to eat this, I needed to eat this. I had to make this.
We often see a lot of food on the Food Network that we would love to have, but we never actually attempt to make it. This time it was different. I set out on my weekly grocery shopping trip, with the recipe already displayed on my Droid’s browser. I carefully selected all of the ingredients, salivating as I placed them in the cart.
Note: the customers and staff at the local supermarket must think I am a little crazy. I have a tendency to talk to myself while shopping and I have also been seen dancing and singing along with in the in-store music. Normally I am with one or both of the boys, I imagine that it doesn’t look quite as strange, but on the rare occasion I am alone, I get some weird looks. Mothers pull their children a little closer, old ladies give me the evil eye, but there is no stopping the urge to shake your ass a little in a George Michael-esque fashion when you hear Faith come over the loud speakers. Screw ’em, if I have to do the grocery shopping, I am going to have some fun doing it.
Saturday evening, we went out for dinner. On Sunday, since the weather was so nice, we planned on barbecue chicken on the grill (a favorite of the kids). I waited patiently, knowing that Monday I would have it. I rushed home from work, by rushed I mean I ran up the stairs from the basement two at a time, and started to gather the ingredients on the kitchen counter. The recipe called for 1 hour to prepare and cook and it took every minute of it. By 6 PM, we sat down to eat. A choir of angels broke out in hosannas as I dished out the plates. I tasted it and it was better than I imagined. It was great! The kids even liked it. They picked through and ate all of the chicken first (which is what they do to most meals).
You could taste everything, the bacon, the different cheeses, the hot sauce, the garlic. I was impressed that I could actually follow the recipe and have something come out as good as it did on television. I am not a chef, I can barely make the basics. I end up charring at least one out of four grilled cheeses. But I made this and it was good.
This attempt has given me some confidence. My next attempt will be the Crawfish and Andouille Sausage Pizza as soon as I can find some crawfish that look remotely fresh. I hope that the kids will like this one too, cuz you gotta have faith.