I attempted to read Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin's Skinny Bitch once, a few years back. They explained what was behind our yearning for Cheddar, Colby, Brie, Havarti, Romano, and Gouda. "Morphine, along with codeine and other opiates are naturally produced in cows' livers and end up in their milk."
I was aware of the protein casein, found in cows' milk, which breaks apart in digestion releasing a whole smorgasbord of opiates. Casein also happens to be essential in cheese-making, acting with other compounds as a clotting agent. The result: Low grade Dairy OxyContin. Makes one wonder if there isn't something more behind the age-old wine and cheese partnership.
And then I read, "Cheese will rule our lives and fatten our asses if we don't kick our addiction!" We glanced back at the smug, grinning stick insects on the book jacket and decided that those bitches looked a little too skinny.
This recipe, adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, reminds me of the mac & cheese at Luby's Cafeteria. I realize some may find it bland, but for me, it's pure Wisconsin smack. It also happens to be a favorite of my best friend, a real "skinny bitch" and constant source of drive and inspiration. Happy Birthday Tracy.
Macaroni & Cheese
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a 1 1/2-quart casserole. Put the cooked macaroni into the casserole, pour the cheese sauce over it, and mix gently with a fork. Sprinkle the grated Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses evenly over the top and spread the crumbs over the cheese. Bake, uncovered about 30 minutes or until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling.
Yield: 4 servings
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Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes or until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit (but not browns!). Add the hot milk, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste, lower the heat. Stir in 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese. Continue to cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from heat. Cool sauce for later use: cover it with wax paper or pour a film of milk over it to prevent a skin from forming.
Yield: about 2 cups
**How hot should the milk be? Warm the milk on low heat just until little bubbles begin to form at the edges.