” Together, each cylindrical chamber separates easily with a brisk crack where the melted cheese are harvested and mingles with the cream sauce laying bare. “
On October 22nd 2018, in the darkness of the night, I laid on my eyes on Margeaux Brasseries’s “honeycomb macaroni” for the first time, and heard destiny calling.
At first it seemed that our connection was immediate and reciprocal, even through the barrier of the computer screen, that there was an understanding without words, that we instinctively knew each other’s needs and wishes, requirements and rewards, that I knew how to make it happy, and it too, wanted to be mine. We would hit it off. We would be an item. We would hold hands at dinner parties and whisper secret jokes only we could understand. We would complete each other.
But apparently, it had other ideas.
Six days later after two catastrophic failures at making this dish, it became increasingly clear that the affection was one-directional only.
But could I blame anyone else but myself? No. Because I took it for granted. I made the classic mistake in a relationship when things felt so given, so seemingly straightforward, I forgot that it too, requires attentions to details. First time around, sounding even stupider now said out loud, I used a type of macaroni that was tree-sizes too small. If you enjoy weaving beads necklace for dinner, this is another way to pleasure yourself with. If not, it’s probably a good time to know that when macaroni is big, it’s not called macaroni anymore. It’s called ziti. Who knew.
I felt good about this new piece of knowledge. Perhaps too good. Emboldened by the sense that I had figured it all out, the second mistake was, if possible, even dumber. What had I expect from introducing a highly sticky material to another highly attractive surface? Left them alone for five minutes, I walked in on the inseparability between my old friend copper pot and my new love honey macaroni in the most interlocked position there is. What a cliche. Cliches hurt.
Two near-permanent breakups, I learnt my lessons. I gave it thoughts. I right all the wrongs. I paid the attentive devotion it deserves. Only on our third date, I bent my knees and made it a faithful proposition. And at the end of the kitchen aisle, shimmering, it stood as beautiful as I had imagined. It is named honeycomb macaroni for a good reason. Its tubular bodies, slender and uniform, huddles intimately with only gooey melted cheese as the mortar of its magnificent structure, like a bee hive made of carbs and dairy. Where in between the gaps, the cheese droops downward like thick syrup to the hot skillet in anticipation where heat, butter and starch await in forming a golden flat cap, a delicate, crispy and delicious linkage.
Such beauty doesn’t need the distraction of a loud sauce. Something simple, but thoughtful. Something understated, but not without declaration. So I “brewed” grounded and browned guanciale, the porkiest substance I know on earth, in a simple cream sauce brightened with nutmeg and cardamon. It was then strained like a tea, removed of the solid source of its deep aroma, leaving only a silky blanket of cream curiously imbued with the thickness of aged pork. Together, each cylindrical chamber separates easily with a brisk crack where the insulted cheese are harvested and mingles with the cream sauce laying bare.
It was an affair that ignited passionately, even if one-sided only, and ended in what will certainly be a lifelong companionship. Learn from my mistakes, and you will find yourself an object of your affection, too.