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Vanilla is just not my favorite flavor

Vanilla is just not my favorite flavor Vanilla is just not my favorite flavor

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I’m a huge fan of macaroni and cheese – HUGE! I love its rich creaminess, its fillingness, its all around comfort food feel.

I’ve tried many varieties over the years, and some are pretty darn tasty, but I always seem to go back to my childhood standby. A box of Kraft macaroni and cheese. Yep, you read that right. A box mix.

Usually, the words box, mix and package, are taboo for this from-scratch cook. Not so for the Kraft mix. I know, I’m complex.

Anyway, I can almost literally live on macaroni and cheese, and recently, I ran out! Yes, I did go through withdrawals. Finally, I got to go shopping and got myself several boxes, but didn’t have a chance to fix any.

Then, weekend before last rolled around and I didn’t have too much scheduled. Fixing at least one box was on my list, but my sinuses had other plans and kicked into full-blown sinus infection.

I woke up feeling really terrible Saturday morning. Still, later that day, I kind of thought macaroni and cheese sounded good. I just didn’t have the energy to fix it though. The next day, I was even worse and had a high fever. I was so bad, I could hardly keep my eyes open or my head up.

No food for me that day!

Monday morning rolled around, and my fever was gone, but I was weak, shaky and had no voice. I could barely even whisper and started coughing that afternoon. Since I add milk to the box mix, I knew if I was already coughing, that would be bad, because dairy clogs my throat.

Tuesday came, my voice at least had some squeak to it, but that’s the day we lay out the paper and we’re lucky if we get to eat anything at all. After the paper was done and sent to the printer, I had to go cheer on one of my teams in the playoffs.

By the time I got home, it was bedtime, too late to fix anything.

The next day, I had an eye appointment in Chippewa, and by the time I got home, I was starved. This time, I told myself, I was going to fix that, come heck or high water.

So, I got out the pots and pans, put water on to boil and waited breathlessly, licking my lips. Once the water was happily bubbling and nicely salted, I opened the box of dried macaroni, removed the packet of cheese powder included and started to pour the macaroni in the pan.

Something made me pause and think, what’s missing? Of course! Olive oil. I always add a few drops to keep pasta from sticking. I put the box of macaroni on the counter, poured in the oil, returned that to the cupboard, then promptly picked up the packet of cheese sauce and dumped it in the boiling water.

I had 3/4 of it in the water before I realized what I was doing.

The cheese goes in the milk mixture, you idiot!

I let out a wail that could be heard in Egypt, and almost broke down in tears. I sucked it up, added the macaroni and glumly watched the orange water churn around, completely hiding the macaroni.

I still made the sauce mixture, but it was awfully anemiclooking. Adding the macaroni didn’t help any. I stood there, with my lip curling in distaste, looking at the mass of very vanilla macaroni and cheese.

At last, I dished it up – all of it (I wasn’t eating that crap another day!) and forced myself to consume every single bite. It had good texture, the macaroni was cooked perfectly, the sauce was creamy and covered well.

The only problem was that it lacked the distinctive cheesy goodness. It was just so vanilla and I’m afraid vanilla is not my favorite flavor. I was left wanting more.

I still have a few boxes left in the pantry, and although I really want the macaroni and cheese, I’m half scared to fix any more. With my addled brain, next time, I might dump Skittles or barbecue sauce in the water!