Just a couple of months ago, I made a box of macaroni and cheese and had that alone for dinner. I ate it but felt a deep dissatisfaction. I thought that maybe this was it – I would give up eating boxed macaroni and cheese. It had become flat and sad and – worst of all – unpalatable.
This was no small epiphany for me. Macaroni and cheese had long been one of my favorite dishes since I was a child. When I was eight or nine years old I first started cooking by making boxes of Kraft. And even as I got older and my palate became more sophisticated and I really became a decent cook, I would always come back to the box of macaroni and cheese. And when I lived in Korea, boxes of macaroni and cheese sent by care packages became an even more potent symbol of home and comfort. But since I’ve been back, I’ve soured on the dish.
I am sort of broke. I don’t have a lot of money coming in and I need to be more thrifty with my food. On my way home from my part-time job, I was debating whether I should go to the grocery store to stock-up on things. I was sort of dreading busting out the debit card and began thinking about what I had in my kitchen and what I could possibly make. A box of Western Beef Macaroni and Cheese, some hot dogs, an onion, a half of a bell pepper, some scallions, cream. I started formulating an idea. Then I got home and realized I could cook this all in one pot, add hot sauce, pepper and put bread crumbs on top and BAKE IT.
Dios mio, man. I don’t know which element exactly made this work so well but I’m going to try to replicate and even enhance this thing and make it a signature classic.