A dinner of cheesy mac cooked by JP, has become almost legendary in our family and last night there were six of us to partake of it. I’m sorry now that I didn’t think to take a photograph before we scoffed it all. I am not allowed to offer any advice or suggestions when it comes to the making of the sauce which admittedly, JP makes extremely well. In a very large frying/saute pan. (No, I don’t know why he doesn’t use a pot like normal people.) The sauce is truly cheesy in flavour and the mac is not macaroni but large pasta shells, as JP does not care for macaroni. I don’t understand this dislike of a particular pasta shape – I can’t see how the shape would affect the flavour but I’ve never been a great fan of pasta so I may be wrong. JP uses whole milk and the sauce is enhanced with wholegrain mustard, ground black pepper and a dash or two of hot chilli sauce. The quantity of cheese in the sauce is mountainous but the diners do not complain.
JP cooks this dish only three or four times a year and as the dishes are brought to the table, we each take a deep breath to inhale and savour the aroma, admire the now browned and crusty crunchy topping, mentally shrug our shoulders and dismiss the high calorie and fat count and then tuck in. An hour or less later, there is usually very little left and everyone complains about how they’ve eaten too much and feel stuffed but then as conversation continues, first son is usually the first one to begin at first idly and then with more vigour, to scrape the toasted cheese and pasta that still clings to the sides of the serving dish. A forkful is occasionally grudgingly passed to his partner, a lover of all cheeses.
Cheesy mac is always accompanied by a few beers and or wine, lots of conversation and much laughter but all too soon it seems that sons and partners are leaving for their own homes. After the table is cleared, JP relaxes on the settee whilst I do the washing up and reflect on the evening. I remember questions that I had meant to ask but didn’t and conversations begun before we ate that were not finished at the table. I had asked if we should have regular get-togethers like this and everyone agreed but at that point we were too full to be able to think comfortably about more food so the what, where and when weren’t decided although I’m sure that a date at least will be agreed upon, sooner rather than later.
Last night’s cheesy mac was a final treat for JP and me before a change is made to our usual eating habits starting from today, as we both want to lose some weight. I’m taking the ‘eat less, move more’ route, and have signed up for a yoga class but quite fancy trying Zumba too. JP will kick-start his weight loss with a low carb couple of weeks followed by calorie counting thereafter and although we will eat together at least once a day, the contents of our plates will be quite different for a while and cheesy mac won’t be on either plate for many months to come!