Monday, November 04, 2013

Macaroni & Cheese Cookbook Smackdown!

There are plenty of macaroni and cheese cookbooks, and some of them are quite good. So do we need another one? That was my question when I heard about both of these new books, The Mac + Cheese Cookbook and Melt. Coincidentally both books are from renowned Northern California food bloggers. 

Out first and in a small format is The Mac + Cheese Cookbook, 50 Simple Recipes from HOMEROOM, America's Favorite Mac and Cheese Restaurant. The subtitle really tells it all. These are recipes from Allison Arevalo (her blog Local Lemons is no longer being updated) and Erin Wade's darling restaurant in Oakland. While the recipes are creative, they are straightforward, uncomplicated and fairly simple really. The ingredients are good quality but not particularly expensive or exotic. The book rounds out the mac and cheese recipes with side dishes and desserts. 

It's not a traditional restaurant cookbook, but rather very practical. Some of my favorite recipes in this book are actually not mac and cheese but the Brussels sprouts with bacon and apple cider vinaigrette and the peanut butter pie. 

It's not a ground breaking cookbook, but a good choice for mac and cheese fans and beginning cooks. Want to find a vegan mac and cheese recipe? A version of mac and cheese with blue cheese and walnuts? Or a "trailer" version with hot dogs and crushed potato chips? This is your book. Visit their restaurant Homeroom in Oakland.

Melt The Art of Macaroni and Cheese was written by two food bloggers I know and adore, Stephanie Stiavetti, The Culinary Life blogger and Garrett Cord the blogger behind Vanilla Garlic. So I was particularly concerned when I heard about the book.  But that was before I got a chance to see it. It is groundbreaking. If The Mac + Cheese Cookbook is a lifestyle book akin to the brand Target--think a little retro in style, mainstream and accessible--then Melt is practically the opposite--it's extremely innovative, sexy, and exotic. Frankly, it's a game changer. It redefines macaroni and cheese through the use of artisanal cheeses, many generally relegated to cheese plates, to wild combinations and new categories like salads, soups and desserts composed of noodles and cheese. 

I have to admit while there are a couple of recipes in this book that don't appeal to me, (I can't quite wrap my mind around the combinations of cheese and seafood or pasta and fruit) but most of them are just plain genius. That said they will take planning ahead to source some of the ingredients. My bookmarked recipes to try include Tomato Soup with Star Pasta and Vella Dry Jack Crisps, Pumpkin Stuffed with Fontina, Italian Sausage and Fontina, and Bianco Sardo with Collard Greens Pesto over Penne. 

Stephanie and Garrett are hosting a Le Creuset giveaway in honor of the book. Find out where they are appearing or attend a book signing. 

So do we need another macaroni and cheese book? I'm going to say an enthusiastic YES! 

Disclaimer: This post includes Amazon affiliate links