Mac 'n cheese 'n friendship

I had big plans for tonight. Well, if not big plans exactly, plans. People were invited to our house for another (maybe the last) get-together where we ate, drank, made merry, and gave away car-loads of our stuff. I had bookmarked a fancy mac ’n cheese (my favorite thing) recipe ages ago, a recipe that serves 12(!), and I finally had an opportunity to make it.

This afternoon I went to the grocery store, bought obscene amounts of cheese, went home, and got to work. And the recipe was all it promised to be. A bechamel to die for, smooth, creamy, thickened just the right amount, not a burnt pot bottom in sight. Cups and cups of freshly grated cheddar and gruy√®re stirred in, with cayenne and nutmeg and ground mustard—I was in heaven. I assembled the whole thing, poured it into the waiting casserole dish, and put it in the refrigerator to sit until the right time.

The guests were due at 7, so at quarter 'til I pre-heated the oven. Except that when I opened the oven to check the thermometer a few minutes later, it hadn't heated AT ALL. We've had multiple problems with our gas oven, resulting in countless calls to the landlord (who keeps insisting it's a brand new oven—yeah, I don't think so), but never this particular issue. CM heroically came into the kitchen to try to fix it, armed with a candle lighter, but nothing was lighting or heating or doing any of the things that ovens are supposed to do. Then he started talking about ordering pizza, while I heroically (but unsuccessfully) staved off tears. Then suddenly, miraculously, the oven started heating up—MAGIC! The thermometer hit 375° and in went the mac 'n cheese. Our friends started arriving, and all was right with the world.

But a couple minutes later when I looked, the temperature had hit 450°. Another problem—the oven was overheating. Out came the casserole dish, I turned the oven off, took a few deep breaths, and started over.

I'm sure you know the end of the story. There was beer to take everyone's mind off the lack of mac. There was good conversation, and loud laughter, and for quite a while the promise of food was enough. And then the oven was the right temperature, and the mac 'n cheese was cooked just right, and the broccoli was steamed, and almost everyone had seconds, and there were brownies for dessert, and the whole night was fun. Of course it was.

Three weeks from today we're leaving Houston and the incredible friends we've made here. I've said it before, and I'm sure you'll hear it again, but I will miss them all so very much. Left to my own devices, I am capable of a complete meltdown when things don't go according to plan. With my friends around me I can laugh it off, make the best of it, go with the flow (sort of). I'm looking forward to our new life, in a new city, on a new continent(!), in a new apartment, with a NEW OVEN.

But this life we're leaving, it's not so bad, you know? It has its moments. In fact, it's pretty damn amazing. And (if you didn't already know) everything's better with mac 'n cheese.

1 comment:

  1. Mmm... mac and cheese, you've made me crave it now... darn you. I'll have to make it this week when I'm dogsitting.

    Glad the oven finally obeyed! And that good times were had by all!

    Here's to new adventures... and as you said, new ovens.


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