Like many crafty, nest-feathering women I know, I have a love-hate relationship with Martha Stewart. I kinda love the projects in her magazine. Even if I never do any of them, they look like things I would like to do if I had the time to rustle up some completely dried out tree stumps to turn into coffee tables, or the wherewithal to arrange a few hundred stems of delphinium and larkspur into a graduated color arrangement. No time for that sort of thing, but love to think I might someday.
Then--haaate!--capping off a snarky rant against a certain kind of cookout, this sentence: "And is there a sorrier state of affairs than the one summoned by the words margarita mix?" Here I have to confess that I'm a girl who squeezes her own citrus fruits whenever I make cocktails because it is SO yummy. But would I spurn a prefab cocktail if a cookout host handed me one with a smile? Hell, no! I drink and eat what's served to me, with gratitude and zero snarkiness! This particular article goes on to describe what is apparently the right kind of cookout, offering recipes for fresh peach margaritas, caviar dip, and lobster with drawn butter. I mean, please. Please! This is not a real standard! And this is why I continue to NOT subscribe to Martha's magazine (but do, occasionally, toss an issue into my grocery cart and hope that none of my friends spot me doing it).
Okay, more about what I love, though--a recipe for mac and cheese which hooked me when it mentioned breadcrumbs crisped up in pancetta fat as a topping. My mac and cheese is sadly lacking, so I gave it a whirl. One hour, half a pound of pancetta, one pound of pasta, and TWO POUNDS of FOUR DIFFERENT KINDS OF CHEESE later, I had before me the most sumptuous, kick-ass vat of mac and cheese EVER. I will never make this dish without a 2:1 cheese-to-pasta ratio again. A warning to those of you who eat at my house sometimes. Or perhaps it's a siren song.
I do love a cook who is unafraid to use plenty of the good stuff. All things in moderation, right? Including Martha.