If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving today (or even if you’re not!), tell us about the best cook in your family.
I might be the best cook in my family. Through folks passing away, my increasing my skills, and my aunt (my mother’s sister) not cooking any these days, I might be. The same way some team will win the NFC East this season and get to the playoffs, it might be me.
Best thing I make is mac and cheese, which is ironic because I’m lactose intolerant. I can hardly stand to eat the best thing I cook. I take Lactaid, but it’s not always effective, so I make the mac and watch it be eaten.
The key to a great mac and cheese is the bechamel. I will not say how I make mine or what I put in it, but when your bechamel is on point, you’re in there.
I’m hoping to one day equal my aunt’s mac and cheese, which is still the best I’ve ever had. At Thanksgiving, Christmas, any time she made mac and cheese, that was always the main event. Those holidays were the best. My mom made turkey or chicken most years. Some of those earlier years, auntie would make ham steak, which when I ate pork, was a treat. My aunt would make the mac and cheese, my aunt the mashed potatoes and/or potato salad.
I couldn’t believe it when my aunt told me her mac and cheese secret ingredient. I’m still tweaking mine to be as good. My aunt has also shared the potato salad recipe with me, but I haven’t attempted it. She and my mother made it the exact same way and it was so good, I’ve only had potato salad as good as theirs only once before. I don’t want to disappoint myself.
My older cousins and my great aunt had their recipe, which was, I’d say about 90% exactly like my mom and aunt’s recipe, but not exactly there. Unfortunately, one or two times when they made theirs, I did tell them it wasn’t as good as my mother’s and aunt’s, which led to hurt feelings. I apologize.
One of my younger cousins puts it down in the kitchen, she says. I’ve already challenged her to a cook off. We’ll see if she accepts. If she accepts, we’ll get some impartial judges to try it and see and if she wins, she can be considered the best.
I’ll demand a rematch though.