Having spent the last twenty-one years blundering my way through cookbooks like “Student Dinners Made Easy,” “5-Minute Meals,” and “Cooking For Dummies,” I was initially skeptical about this new-fangled Pinterest website where all of my friends were finding these great recipes.
What could the internet teach me that I hadn’t already tried (and failed spectacularly) to make? Could it teach me how to gracefully explain to my flatmates that yes, I set our lunch on fire again? I quietly created an account and tried my hand some of the simpler recipes, with little success. My kale chips tasted like charred loo roll, my stuffed peppers melted into a sad little puddle in the oven, and my overnight oats were pretty much poisonous. I was losing faith in my ability to make anything remotely edible when I found this little gem, courtesy of http://www.aspicyperspective.com.
Beer and mac and cheese. Two of my favorite things. What could possibly go wrong??
First thing’s first. It’s been a long day, you’ve been at the library, and you haven’t spoken to your flatmate in five whole hours. Sit down and enjoy a beer. Or two.
Now. You only need four things:
- Pasta. Whatever kind of pasta makes you happy. I used shells because that’s what I had in the cupboard.
- Cheese. Preferably cheddar, but if you want to get funky and mix it up, you just follow your heart.
- Cream cheese. I think the recipe said this was really important but I didn’t bother to read why. Just make sure you have it.
- I used Foster’s because again, that’s what we had lying around but you can use whatever you like as long as it’s “light and crispy.”
Carbs on carbs on carbs. Yum. At this point, you should a) have another beer and b) ignore the rest of recipe entirely because honestly how hard could it be?
Boil some water. Be sure to have the tap water hit the kettle at exactly the right angle so that it sprays you in the face and goes everywhere. Excellent.
Take your block of cheese and shred the entire thing. All of it. Be really careful not to accidentally shred your hand too, and when you inevitably do make sure you sit down and have another beer.
Put your pasta into the pot of water, using the very scientific “eyeballing” method to determine how much you’ll need.
Spend several minutes trying to get an effortless-looking close-up of the cheese you have just shredded and artfully sprinkled on the counter to make it look cool.
While your pasta is cooking, start on the cheese sauce. This is the fun part because you get to have another beer.
Pour about a quarter a third some of a 12 oz beer into a separate pot. While you’re waiting for it to simmer, say a quiet prayer to the culinary gods and beg for benevolence, or at the very least, protection from your hungry flatmates who are probably about to be disappointed.
Once the beer is simmering, add in the cream cheese. Again, eyeball it. I’m not a huge cream cheese fan so I added about three quarters of the tin instead of the whole thing.
Whisk vigorously. Flick the cheesy-beer mixture onto the ceiling. Stand on a chair and bashfully remove whilst dodging glares from now-ravenous flatmates. Try to think of cheese-related puns to ease the tension.
I have a grate idea. Add in your shredded cheese. En route from counter to stove, trip and fling the entire bowl across the kitchen. It should look like you were really trying. Think light dusting of cheesy snow. Everywhere.
Sweep up the cheese as fast as you can, and because they were 2 for 1 at Tesco you’re always prepared, shred the other block of cheese that’s in your fridge and gradually stir in with the rest of the cream-cheesy beer mixture that did not wind up on the ceiling.
Now, drain your pasta. Have another beer because what beverage would go better with beer mac and cheese than beer??
Combine pasta and cheese sauce in a giant bowl, stir, and serve. Give yourself a giant pat on the back and make a note of the day and time when your flatmates tell you that it is both edible and tasty. So edible and tasty that the whole thing gets eaten before you have time to get a picture of the final product. Sophie: 1, cooking: 0. Bon appetit!
Images courtesy of the author. Title image courtesy of Isabella Hoskins.