Case in point - I'm innocently mentioning that I'll be making macaroni and cheese for dinner out of a cookbook that I've never used before, when Paul states that he could make a better one without the use of any cookbook! Has he gone mad? Keep in mind - we are both really new at this whole cooking thing and neither of us has ever made macaroni and cheese before. I just scoff and went on my merry way, planning my ingredients and reading the recipe numerous times to make sure I knew what I was doing. What could possibly go wrong? The book says this recipe is from a famous restaurant in New York City! It says no one ever refuses a second helping! I've got it made!
So, on the evening of my attempt, I pull out all the ingredients and diligently prepare them before I turn on the oven and stove to start the real cooking. I think Paul was napping somewhere.
After I start cooking what seems to be a very large amount of pasta (8 cups) into the boiling water, I was standing at the stove, stirring the cheese sauce, watching the pasta boil, when I glanced again at the cookbook and felt my heart drop. I looked again. Oh no. The book didn't say 8 CUPS of pasta. It said 8 OUNCES of pasta! No wonder it looked like too much!
But wait...8 ounces? That doesn't seem right either. In my shock, I actually went and measured out 8 ounces of the cooked pasta (which is pretty funny in hindsight) just to make sure that I wasn't dreaming. Yes, ok, that is definitely a SMALL amount of pasta. Can that be right? Hmm...the recipe says that it makes four servings as a main dish. Ok, there's no way 4 adults would survive on 2 ounces of pasta each.
Emergency situation. So, what do I do? I do the first thing that pops into my head - I text the competition. "Paul - I need your help and advice urgently."
Paul comes in and together, after some deliberation and re-reading of the recipe, we settle on 6 cups of pasta, because that's what looks like would fit comfortably in the bakeware dish size that was recommended.
I put together the macaroni and cheese, popped it into the oven, silently cursed the cookbook and crossed my fingers.
Of course, at this point, Paul re-iterates the fact that he could do a better macaroni and cheese without a cookbook so I tell him to go for it. (In my head, I'm thinking - "Yeah, like you can do better", but I'm also thinking "Great! That's one less night I have to worry about making dinner!"). Of course, I've already conceded the Macaroni and Cheese battle - Paul would have to do an absolutely horrific job in order to be worse than my attempt!
At which point we decide that a little friendly competition in the kitchen may not be a bad thing, as long as we were up to eating the same thing twice and sometimes really bad versions of the same thing twice. So the Kitchen Frolic Food Fight was born. It's basically Paul vs. Stephanie, beginner vs. beginner, husband vs. wife. Let the games begin! :)
p.s. Apparently, Paul says my mac and cheese was a lot better with Sriracha sauce.
Watch for my write-up of Paul's take on macaroni and cheese coming soon!