“Macaroni and Cheese” from “The River Cottage Family Cookbook”

Tim: What do you think boys?

Andrew (12) and Nicholas (8): Good!

Maureen: Nicholas, I didn’t put bacon on yours since you told me earlier today that you were “born hating bacon.” Would you have liked some anyway?

Nicholas: No. It’s perfect the way it is, without the bacon.

Maureen: Do you like this more, less or the same as our favourite macaroni and cheese? When I say “our favourite” I mean the New York Times recipe, not the Jamie Oliver 30 Minute Cauliflower Macaroni.

Andrew: I like our usual better.

Nicholas: Me too.

Maureen: I’m not surprised. Our favourite macaroni and cheese calls for a pound of cheese. It’s obvious why you’d like it better.

Tim: They’re right. This one isn’t as good. I’m going to get more, but only because I’m hungry, not because I like this more.

Maureen: This one is a faff. You have to make a white sauce and cook the macaroni and then finish it all off in the oven. The other one may take three times as long, but you just mix it all together in the pan and let the oven and the various cheeses do the work.

Maureen: Putting bacon on top after it’s all done is nice, but superfluous.

Tim: Plus it alienated Nicholas.

Maureen: So the next time I make macaroni and cheese which one should I make?

Andrew, Nicholas and Tim: Our usual, please.

Tim: If you felt it needed bacon, you could just add it to the top. It’s not a proprietary secret.

Maureen: I think when it comes to bacon, it’s never a question of need. It’s always a question of want.

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