Nathanial Garrod

Book Review: The Mac + Cheese Cookbook

 Mac + Cheese

The Mac + Cheese Cookbook by Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade features 50 recipes from Homeroom, a macaroni and cheese restaurant in Oakland, California. It is a beautiful volume, just over 50 pages and most recipes have a picture of the dish that fills the full page. Alternatively, some pages have pictures of the restaurant. The book starts out with a wonderful history of the restaurant and description of the authors passion for macaroni and cheese.

This is my second round of the Mac Sauce.

This is my second round of the Mac Sauce.

Th base for the macaroni and cheese recipes in this cookbook is what the authors call a Mac Sauce. The first time I made it, it was decent, but I skipped a couple steps at the end and it ended up a bit thinner than it should have been. The second time I made it, I rectified this and it ended up perfect. The mistakes the first time did not make the macaroni and cheese worse – I basically just had a thinner, runnier version of the sauce, which I supplemented with a little bit more cheese. Because who does not love more cheese.

This is the Gilroy Garlic Mac & Cheese! So delicious. As you can see, a bit runnier than planned, but still amazing.

This is the Gilroy Garlic Mac & Cheese! So delicious. As you can see, a bit runnier than planned, but still amazing.

First up was the Gilroy Garlic Macaroni and Cheese recipe from the American Classics section of the book. Gilroy Garlic is one of the Macs the restaurant is most well known for. I actually forgot to pick up one of the types of cheeses the recipe required, so I had to run back to Trader Joes to pick it up. In the check-out line, I asked the checker: “ever have one of those nights where you’re halfway through a recipe and realize you forgot an ingredient?” The woman in front of me in line laughed a bit “yes, all the time!” she quipped.

Back to my recipe, I grated the three cups of cheese and minced the garlic. When I was finished, I had a delightfully cheesy, slightly garlic-y and featured my poorly constructed, slightly runny Mac Sauce. Also, after a bowl and a half, I still had enough leftover to feed me for a day or two. Which is pretty awesome.

Sriracha Mac, just out of the oven!

Sriracha Mac, just out of the oven!

Sriracha Mac on a plate.

Sriracha Mac on a plate.

For my second recipe, I went to the International Relations second and made the Sriracha Mac,which I shared with some friends from church. I still had enough of the Mac Sauce from my previous cooking adventure to make this recipe. This one involved baking. It turned out well – I used the Trader Joes Sriracha, so it was not as spicy as it could have been if I had used a more authentic Sriracha. I enjoyed it, and it seems the friends I shared it with also enjoyed it.

My next adventure in the cookbook was to the Chemistry section, where I made an attempt at the Mac Cakes, which are basically macaroni and cheese pancakes. I had to make a few modifications, and even then it was hard to get them to turn out right. I finally figured out a way to make it work, but it was not as great as I thought it would be. I still enjoyed how it turned out.

These are my failed Mac Cakes, in a bowl.

These are my failed Mac Cakes, in a bowl.

This is my first actual Mac Cake, towards the end of the batch. Yes, that's on a robot plate with tiny robots that love each other. Don't hate.

This is my first actual Mac Cake, towards the end of the batch. Yes, that’s on a robot plate with tiny robots that love each other. Don’t hate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have not yet tried any recipes form the extra credit section, which features plenty of side dishes – mostly salads and that sort of thing, but both those and the Finals (desserts) look really great. There’s even recipes for dessert mac and homemade oreos!

With the ingredients I had at home already, I only spent about $25, which was mostly spent on varieties of cheese, Lagunitas IPA, panko, milk, butter, and a few other miscellaneous things.

I would very highly recommend picking up this wonderful volume if you have any feelings of delight or joy or happiness or excitement when eating Macaroni and Cheese. It is full of Macaroni and Cheese goodness that can last you – well, a very long time.

The Mac + Cheese Cookbook by Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade (ISBN: 978-1-60774-466-5) is available in Hardcover for $16.99 and is published by Ten Speed Press. Thanks to Gini Rhoda for sending a copy along.

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