Sunday, October 31, 2010

I just read Michael Pollan's excellent Food Rules - it's a quick read, and full of the kind of sensible nutrition advice that we should all abide by. One of his "food rules" was: eat all the junk food you want... provided that you cook it for yourself. It takes a lot more time and energy to make a batch of ice cream than it does to dash out to the bodega for a pint of Vermont's finest, so you probably won't be inclined to whip up a batch of mint chocolate chip more than every once in a while. (Which, of course, is about how often one should be eating ice cream.)

While I'm definitely not ready to follow all of Michael Pollan's advice to the letter, I think he has an excellent point with the cook-your-own junk food thing. I've been on a Kraft mac and cheese jag lately, and it's really not good for anyone. (And especially not for anyone who's hoping for leftovers, since I can totally dust one of those boxes by myself with astonishing speed.) Solution? This homemade broccoli mac and cheese, which requires barely more time or effort than opening up a packet of neon orange cheese powder.

I set a small pot of water on the stove, then cooked the shells in the boiling water while the broccoli steamed in the steamer insert. In a separate pot, I whisked together a few teaspoons of butter and a tablespoon of flour to make a roux, then added a few cups of milk, a generous pile of shredded cheddar, four slices of American cheese and some salt and freshly ground pepper. By the time the cheese melted and the sauce came together, the pasta and broccoli were both done. Ta da!

And the best part? This is so satisfying and filling, there were actually leftovers to tuck away in the fridge for a hungry boyfriend. Homemade junk food, more satisfying than the "real" thing? Michael Pollan, I think you're on to something!

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