Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Not exactly mac and cheese

Jasper started out a light eater. It wasn't so much that he was picky -- he just wasn't that interested in spending time and energy eating. He was too busy running around and exploring his world. I was so desperate to get him to eat that I started buying Annie's Mac and Cheese, the least evil of the packaged kids' foods. He liked it. Sometimes it was all he ate for a week or so. Then he would burn out. Over time I got over my need to stuff food into Jasper's craw at any cost and got into the habit of feeding him what Lane and I ate every day.

It's been several months since Jasper has eaten Annie's. But the other day a friend of ours served some amazing homemade mac and cheese, the baked kind with sausage and veggies, with toasted bread crumbs on top. Jasper said, "I don't like this kind of mac and cheese!" and refused to eat it. I was mortified. I ate his serving.

I'm still not buying him the Annie's, though. I know it's not that bad, but it's not that good, either. So today when I said we were making out own mac and cheese he tried to grab the Annie's. I wrestled it out of his grasp and let him instead pick which pasta we'd use. He picked capellini. It was actually an inspired choice. I think maybe one of the deterrents in the other mac and cheese was its heartiness. I think adults like a toothsome pasta that doesn't get overwhelmed by the sauce, but not so with kids. Capellini is thin and delicate, like the macaroni used in Annie's. It goes down easy and places the emphasis more on the cheese than on the pasta.

I went in wanting to make JaneAnne's ham and peas pasta. But then I saw a can of salmon and that sounded even tastier. This will be a less-useful post as I didn't measure anything... sorry about that.

After shelling a bag of peas I started boiling them first, then added a package of capellini which I had broken into smaller sticks. Meanwhile I melted about 2 tablespoons butter in a small pot, added some minced garlic, then stirred in an equal (to the butter) amount of flour. Once that came together I slowly started adding milk to get a sauce. I also added the liquid from the can of salmon (15 oz). When I had a good sauce I dumped in about 1 1/2 cups grated cheese, a combination of jarlsberg, munster, and cheddar. When the pasta was cooked I drained it and then stirred in the cheese sauce, adding the salmon.

Jasper took a bite and declared, "Ummm, yummy!" Take that, Annie!

On another note, I could barely cook, much less post yesterday after heading the news about the shooting in Virginia. My heart aches most of all for the parents. I kept imagining what it would be like to raise Jasper and send him off to college only to have him slaughtered. Imagine calling your child over and over again, hoping to hear of his safety. Imagine not getting through, and the later it gets the more it seems that your child may have been a victim. What would you do? Would you hold on to hope until you were confronted with a body? Or would you just know? Too horrible to contemplate for more than a few moments. I pushed these thoughts from my mind and roasted a chicken. In last week's New Yorker Adam Gopnik said that one cannot really think while cooking. I don't know that I agree, but it worked yesterday.


Lindsey said...

Sounds very yummy. Lilly is going through a phase where she won't eat pasta with anything on it. She used to eat any kind of pasta, any kind of sauce.

I, too, felt too stunned by the shootings to do much else. I do find that cooking takes my mind off of the things I'd rather not think about.

Co said...

I once mortified my mom and grandmother by refusing to eat the spaghetti and meatballs I'd ordered at a fancy Italian NYC restaurant (where we'd gone as a special 3-generational treat after seeing the Radio City Christmas show--more a treat for my mom and my GM than for me, I assure you). But I really only liked my mom's spaghetti and meatballs and was always disappointed when I ordered my favorite meal and it didn't taste how I liked it. I still think good, homemade sauce is much better than what I have ever eaten in a restaurant, no matter how fancy. Glad you found a mac and cheese more to Jasper's liking.

And yeah, Virginia T*ch. So hard. I was a teacher during the time when there seemed to be a school shooting every few months or so. After Columbine, one of my colleagues' sons started having serious emotional problems. He became phobic that if he let her out of her sight and let her go to school, someone would kill her, because that's what happened in schools. Poor kid.