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A Press Democrat Blog

Proximal Kitchen

Cooking locally, with really sharp knives

Sweet, Salty, Cauliflower Love

I love that my kids are interested in things like music, gymnastics, and horses, but let’s be honest, careening from one activity to the next like a life-size game of pinball can get as old as bingo in Florida, and gas north of 4 bones/gallon ain’t helping. But still, I try to cherish the time together these errands offer, because I know that all that stands between me and a perpetual string of lonely afternoons is a few years and a driver’s license, and I’d like always to remember what it feels like to earn the unquestioning dependence of a child.… Read More »

Pasta, with a Handful of Herbs

“…with a handful of herbs.” I love that. Even if the dish weren’t so simple and delicious, even if it didn’t leave my wife starry-eyed with carbohydrate lust, I’d cook this pasta just to call it by name; that, and the devil-may-care pleasure of a recipe defined, not by cups or teaspoons, but by the size of one’s hand. Want the recipe?… Read More »

Mac-n-Cheese, Cheese, & More Cheese (v2.5)

Mac N Cheese with Lots and Lots of CheeseCan you imagine playing Russian roulette with the crust at your favorite pizza joint, the done-ness of your steak, or the hardness of your egg? Take away the obsessive cooks, and we’d all be eating Swanson’s Hungry Man or instant ramen with a spork, which is a roundabout introduction to Why I’m Still Trying To Perfect Mac-n-Cheese. The mountains of grated cheese, the errors like some pagan fortune engraved in burnt milk at the bottom of sauce pots, the sweet, nutty smell of flour frying in butter that fill the house, and – finally – today’s installment, in which I learn that, unlike Crisco or tickling, if some is good, then more is better.… Read More »

In Search of Mac-n-Cheese Perfection, v2.0

Home-made Kraft-style mac-n-cheeseIn our earlier skirmish with this thread, we waxed philosophical on the gustatory wonder and sundry therapeutic benefits of a classic macaroni and cheese, but made precious little headway toward the dish itself. While the end result was good, maybe even satisfying, it nevertheless fell short of transporting. And a truly classic mac-n-cheese must, above all else, transport us somewhere: Perhaps to a time when we were younger, or in circumstances more care-free, or maybe precisely where we are now, but with softer edges, the carbohydrate equivalent of a Snuggly.… Read More »

Seeking Mac-n-Cheese Perfection: The Ground Rules

Mac-n-Cheese with Italian CheesesOK, it’s Monday, enough of the booze chatter. We promised to engage in the pursuit of mac-n-cheese perfection, and here in the Proximal Kitchen, we don’t take such promises lightly. If you caught my previous post on mac-n-cheese, despair not yet another sermon from the culinary pulpit, because today’s post – our introductory foray into the mac-n-cheese sweepstakes – is all business.
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Why I’m Trying To Make a Perfect Mac-n-Cheese

John Thorne's mac n cheese with goat cheeseAn old friend of mine and nascent PK supporter, a certain Ms T (you know who you are), recently put in a request in for my best take on mac-n-cheese. Not just any mac-n-cheese, mind you, but a “rich, rich, rich, very adult mac-n-cheese”. This, T must have intuited, sits squarely in our wheelhouse because, here at the Proximal Kitchen, we love cheese, we love pasta, and we’re not scared of butter. But for me, and I suspect for T and probably most of you, it’s also about much more than that:… Read More »