Careful what you say to kids. It will come back to haunt you. Much as I want to, I am seldom allowed to start with back story but this, after all, is a blog and my blog at that, so here I go.
My godson, Precious Angel has decided that after his senior year next year, that he wants to do his higher education matriculating at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. This is not a done deal but he was selected to attend a program there this summer and we are told that this is a good indication that unless he steals an airplane, they are likely to say to him, "Come on down." I am glad that his SATS, ACT, volunteer work, extra curricular activities, and perfect 4.0 GPA since kindergarten are affording him some opportunities but COLORADO? That's far. I've never even been to Colorado unless you count the time Stephanie, The Guy, and I had a layover there on the way to Washington and The Guy left his credit card in a restaurant called the Santa Fe Grill, which, by the way, should have been in New Mexico. And I don't. Count it that is. Anyway, about the higher education. I had not expected Alabama or Auburn, but I thought maybe Vandy or his daddy's alma mater, Georgia Tech. Who is going to boss him around? (Oh, wait. Military academy. Never mind.) But no sushi for his birthday. No calling me for lunch money, tennis racquet, or trigonometry book. No running in my door after football practice wanting a shower and some food.
Food. Now, that boy can eat, which makes me the perfect godmother for him because I can cook. Recently we got together for a potluck meal, as we often do. I took some barbecue. He was especially ravenous and had his buns ready before I got the pig butt pulled off the bone.
"You are awesome!" he said. "The most awesome person I know!" (Trust me. I am not. He knows many people more awesome than I am but he speaks in superlatives, which he picked up from me.) "This is the best barbecue I've ever had." (It was, in fact, exactly like every bite of barbecue he has ever put in his mouth.)
"You do know I bought it don't you?" I asked. "And the slaw."
"You could have made it," he said around a mouthful. "It would have been even better."
Well, maybe. IF I had a barbecue pit in my backyard, an endless supply of hickory wood, and an inclination to stand over said pit for hours on end, doing whatever it is you do to make barbecue happen. I do not. Some things are better homemade. Some things are better left to the experts, barbecue, petit fours, and puff pastry being just a few. But I didn't tell Precious Angel any of this. He's about the only one left on my list of people who have complete faith in me and the clock has got to be ticking on that.
"It would be even better if we had some of that macaroni and cheese," he said.
"You know," I said. "I've learned something new about macaroni and cheese. My friend Kathy clued me in to putting bacon in it."
He shuddered. He actually shuddered, as only a sixteen year boy will do at the thought food.
He swiped at his eyes with his Guatemala mission trip t-shirt sleeve. "I think I just tearred up a little." (He is very funny. He gets it from his daddy, mostly.)
"I'll make you some next week, baby." I said. (I call him baby but never in front of his friends. Precious Angel is only his blog name, designed to protect the child that he is. I do not call him that even to his face.)
"You are awesome! The most awesome person I know!"
Though I swore I wouldn't do it, though I know I shouldn't have, I opened my mouth and said, "Wonder how the macaroni and cheese in Colorado is going to be."
"Awesome!" He ate some more pig butt. "The most awesome ever because I think I will be getting some macaroni and cheese care packages."
Now, in spite of his love for the word awesome, the boy has a better than nodding acquaintance with the scientific and mathematical world around him. This comes from having a merit scholarship winning daddy and a mama who I have no doubt would be standing at a podium bossing other physicists around if she had not decided to teach high school physics and calculus so she would have more time to boss Precious Angel around. I'm pretty sure he understands safe food temperature and how long it takes the mail to run.
"I do not believe that macaroni and cheese, with or without bacon, is all that conducive to being sent in the U.S. mail," I told him.
And he looked at me dead on in the eye and said what I have been saying to him on a regular basis for the better part of his 16 years, 11 months and 5 days.
"People find a way to do what they want to."
Careful of your platitudes if you don't want to find yourself looking for a way to get macaroni and cheese across the country.
What have you said that came back to haunt you?
Macaroni and Cheese
1 pound macaroni. (Precious Angel likes shells.)
4 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons flour
2 cups of whole milk (If you use 2%, you'll be sorry. If you use skim, you'll wish you hadn't bothered with the whole thing.)
Cheese—I use 8 oz. of Velveeta, cubed, and about 12 oz. of grated sharp cheddar. You might like a little less cheddar. Taste it and see. Also, if I have any mozzarella, brie, Monterey Jack, parmesan, or just about anything except blue, hanging around, I throw it in. I'd put in the blue except The Guy hates it.)
Cook the macaroni. While that's going, make a white sauce. (Or a béchamel, as it has become tony to say.) "How?" you say. Melt the butter but do not let it brown. Add flour and whisk for a couple minutes. Add the milk a little at a time until it's thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add the cheese and stir until it melts.
Turn into a greased 9 X 13 pan and bake for about 30 minutes.
Serves 8-12 normal people or one football playing teenage boy.
(And no, I didn't forget to mention the salt. If you were making a white sauce for some other purpose, you would salt and pepper it when you add the flour but cheese is salty, so don't. Put in pepper if it suits you but I don't think pepper belongs in macaroni and cheese. Some put in dry mustard and nutmeg. I do not.)