Food and Flags is starting this year with a recipe from “the land of dreams” – and with the current overwhelming amount of media coverage on US politics, I think we could all take a little break and just focus on what it all always boils down to at the end of the day: a delicious dinner.
My cook in this episode is Phillip, a boy from the the coast of Florida. He prepares nothing other than a classic “Southern comfort” dish: mac’n’cheese – and boy oh boy, is it gonna be tasty!
Start by boiling water in one pot and in the meantime chopping both your onion and garlic. If you bought a bigger block of cheese instead of a pack of pre-grated one, also take some time for grating – we used old Dutch cheese that gave the meal a fine savory taste at the end. Boil your pasta and in another pot melt some butter and crisp the onion and garlic. When golden, add more butter, slowly some milk, and lastly cheese – portions all depend on personal preferences, but let’s face it: can there ever be too much cheese? No.
Phil is coming from the US, but I personally believe he also comes from a land of imagination, being the daydreamer he is – when having a cup of coffee or a drink together, we always end up having the best endless conversations about philosophy, the afterlife, or about one of his hundred conspiracy theories. He is a Capricorn, he believes in the power of thought more than anyone I know (e.g. “Phil, are you cold?” – “No, I tell myself it’s not cold.”), and if I would ever have a question about hip-hop, he could not only tell me about artists and songs to listen to but could also teach me some dance moves. Reading this you definitely feel like wanting to get to know this person – and I don’t blame you, so far he definitely is one of the most interesting little gems of Amsterdam I have found!
Let’s keep crackin’ that cookin’ though! When pasta is ready, still pay attention to your sauce – add salt, pepper, and a pinch of paprika to it. Take a baking pan and layer the noodles with the creamy sauce, covering the top with extra breadcrumbs and grated cheese. In the oven it goes for 20-25 minutes on 175 degrees, until the top gets golden brown and crispy. You are practically done – easy peasy lemon squeezy!
Only thing left to do while waiting for the main dish to reach its final crunchy form is to steam your broccoli – this part speaks for itself, so I’ll rather speak a bit more about Phil and ‘Merica while you do it. I asked him what was one thing he does not come across in Europe but is very typical for him at home: and he told me how no one calls him sweety or honey, for instance when just looking for something in a store and asking the old lady behind the counter to help. So let’s step up our game, Europeans, and stop waiting for a reason to be overly nice to each other! Does not take much extra effort but might make someone’s day nicer.
By now you have read enough and your food should also be ready, so farewell, reader, enjoy the meal! And thank you for cooking, Russel-Phillip Bodine!