Many people are devout followers of the religion known as Oprahism. I, myself, have been exposed to the deity that is Oprah, along with demi-gods Gaga and The Bieber, by second-hand devotion via means of television, the internet, even going as far as to watch my own girlfriend pen a salacious letter to the Oprah Show. Truly, it has been a spiritual awakening!
Oprah bestows her heavenly, Southern wisdom on those unfit to lead their own lives. I lump myself into this conglomerate at times, and when I heard that Oprah granted Beecher’s Handmade Cheese the prestigious award of “Oprah’s Best” to their macaroni and cheese, I had to get my hands on some. I went about this in a few different ways. I first attempted to get a hold of Oprah’s producers and media team. I prepped for this letter for five months, going as far as to delving into the depths of forums and women’s health magazines to learn the correct dialect Oprians speak in, so that I may mask as one of them and slip inside. This is what I wrote:HELLO IS THIS OPRAH I AM LOOKING FOR THE BEECHER MACARONI AND CHEESE PLEASE SEND IT TO ME IF YOU CAN MY ADDRESS IS XXXXX XXXX, AND BY THE WAY MY COUSIN HAS ERECTILE DISFUNCTION CAN YOU DO A SHOW ABOUT HIM GODBLESS!!!!!! XOXO FOODETTE
Needless to say, the response I received was punctual, though dismally perfunctory. Oprah is busy, blah blah, sacrificing minions, blah blah, preparing for her Ultimate One Time Ascension to the Sky, blah blah, and couldn’t personally send me macaroni and cheese. Luckily, the kind folks at Beecher’s were friendly enough to send some over, along with some delicious cheese.
A serving of Beecher’s Macaroni and Cheese will set you back one Ulysses S. Grant. I’ve had good macaroni and cheese before- it’s not very hard to whip up yourself and is often enhanced and priced up at restaurants as a result of fancy additions, like truffle oil or frizzled leeks. However, this was far more expensive than any mac I’d ever macked and lacked the enhancements most seem to have. This was starting to confuse me and enter Stedman-Oprah territory. Where would I find the truth?The macaroni took fifty minutes to make and yielded a fairly large pan. Twenty ounces was enough to make us two meals’ worth of food. The problem was, it just had too much cheese and too little of anything else. I appreciated the penne pasta touch, as the sauce really got into the lines and extra surface area the tube offered. That and the liberal usage of paprika were about all that piqued my interest, unfortunately. While this wasn’t as bad as being on the level of a James Frey Alert, it certainly wasn’t at the level of an Elton John or a “I didn’t know I had a parent and I just found them through the magic of Twitter” moments. It was pretty average. My main gripe with this was that it was just a little too rich. The copious amounts of cheese ended up congealing and clumping along the bottom of the plate, turning grainy if not consumed within seconds of taking it out of the pan- a feat that proves impossible as it’s a thousand degrees after baking.
Even with the tons of cheese, a feature I don’t normally eschew, something about it seemed one dimensional. Macaroni and cheese can be seen as a blank canvas or a purist’s delight. Personally, I think something needs to exist, whether in the sauce or as a topping, to counteract the creaminess and cut the dairy content- a little spice, some fresh garlic, as well as a textural component to offset the mush factor. But this was pretty Plain Jane, and for what it was, it was clear that the ingredients were high quality, but assembled in such a way that it just didn’t impress and left us feeling weighted down and craving fresh greens. I could barely wait fifty minutes for this, much less pay fifty dollars. With all the bluster and boasting from The Big O, all it proved to me was that Oprah is incapable of making her own macaroni and cheese. No mortal is perfect.