I don’t always set New Year’s resolutions. Oh, sure – drink more water, eat better, blah blah blah, the usual. But I’m not great about setting a real plan or being very diligent about any of it. And it’s not like I need to set one of those “read more” goals, if anything my resolution should be “put the book down and get your tuchas moving.” I do think the advice I’ve seen to add some fun things to the list helps – I don’t go to a lot of movies, so one year I made a resolution to see one a month. I think I hit it? But even that “habit” didn’t stick.
Anyway, January is usually not very old when I throw in the towel, if I even picked it up in the first place, but the idea of doing something new tends to resurface around my birthday. Last year was the big 5-0, which of course means this year I was turning 51, which is such a nothing special mark. But then it occurred to me that I’ll be 52 NEXT year (I’m smart with numbers that way) and a year is 52 weeks (see?), so why not try one of those “thing a week for a year” deals?
But what? Like I said, no need to focus on books, I already read more than a book a week. A movie a week is probably not in my budget, either money or time. And while there are lots of things in my life I need to improve (exercise, nutrition, housework, the list is endless), none of those things are that interesting and it’s very unlikely I’d stick with it past the first couple of attempts. A new activity/place/etc.? Yeah, no – I’m a hermit in the winter and honestly, the Tri-Cities is a pretty great place to live, but it’s not THAT interesting. And unless, I was going to do most of these new activities alone, there’s no way I’d be able to corral OTHER people into doing stuff every week. I have two different friend groups where it can take WEEKS of negotiating schedules to get together for a single lunch.
So, it came down to something I could do at home, that would be interesting, that I would enjoy enough to stick with it, and not cost too much. Which pretty much left cooking. But again, what? “A new recipe per week” leaves lots of room – too much room? Too vague? Would that be interesting to talk about?
“Made it. Liked it. Next.”
“Made it. Not a fan. Next.”
“Made it. Disgusting, the dog won’t even come near it. Next.”
And, if I’m being super realistic, I’m the kind of person who needs a little structure. If there are too many options, it’s just overwhelming. I’ll spend all the time researching, and making charts and plans and timelines, but not ever actually DO THE THING. The more I thought about it, the more the idea of a cohesive theme, which leaves room for variety and experimentation, while still offering options for comparison, sounded ideal. And as a single person household, it had to be something that didn’t require crazy expensive ingredients, and that the recipe could be reduced easily and/or the results either freeze well or are easy to give away
And then the answer jumped, fully formed, into my brain. It had to be mac & cheese.
I love mac & cheese. I mean, I LOVE mac & cheese. EVERYBODY loves mac & cheese. What’s not to love? To paraphrase Joey, “Pasta? Good. Cheese? Gooood. Together? GOOOOOD!!!” Also, my initials are MAC, it’s kind of my destiny. (OK, that was cheesy.) (Ha, cheesy, see what I did there?)
52 weeks from today (Sunday, February 28, 2021), will be my 52nd birthday. Over the next 52 weeks, I will make a different variation of mac & cheese every week and write about it. I’ll include the recipe, why I picked that one, any tips & tricks I happen to pick up, rate it for things like how easy it is to prepare, whether it has any special or expensive ingredients, how it tastes, does it freeze/reheat well, do other people like it?, etc.
If you’d like to follow along, there should be buttons somewhere on the main page where you can subscribe to be notified when this site is updated, and/or to follow on Facebook and Instagram.
The ratings system will be on a scale of 1-5 noodles, loosely based on the following criteria:
- How easy is it / how much time does it take to prepare?
- Ingredients (expensive vs. pantry staples, easy/hard to find, cost)
- Is it freezer friendly and/or does it re-heat well?
- Taste, texture, time
- Did I like it / would I make it again?
Also, the definition of “mac” will be fairly flexible – if one week it’s angel hair pasta, eh, so what? Regardless of the shape, most of the boxes say “enriched macaroni product.” I also hope to finally get around to making my own pasta occasionally. I got the amazing Salty Seattle cookbook for Christmas more than a year ago and need to do more than drool over the pretty pages; I also have various pasta making implements, both borrowed and purchased, that are currently collecting dust. (The Tri-Cities is SO. DUSTY. Ugh.)
But I digress.
If anyone is even still reading at this point, I can almost guarantee that the weekly posts will not be this wordy, so don’t let the novel above scare you away from coming back to check out my progress. Will I stick with it more than 3 weeks? Will I gain 87 pounds? Only time will tell if I actually get my mac on for a whole year!
Posted: March 1, 2020