People have always called macaroni and cheese soul food, but what exactly makes it soul food or southern food? Is it because my ethnic mother and grandmother made it, is it classified as soul food, because what made it so good was that they put their heart and soul in that dish and that is what made it so darn good. It didn’t matter if anyone had a lot of money or ingredients all they needed was the basics: macaroni, cheese, egg, milk, & those magic hands that simply made every bite taste absolutely heavenly.
However, macaroni and cheese has been on a come up and they have traded the simple goodness in for classy and high priced, and somehow with those two components now added it has seemed to lose the concept of soul food and now entered into the arena of savory and pungent.
No longer can mac and cheese be simply mac and cheese, but now at Almond in Manhattan it is “Le Grand macaroni and cheese with prosciutto and chopped truffles,” now thats fancy, but at the end of the day no matter how fancy the menu title, if the palate doesn’t connect , these words are like clanging symbols which translates into not making a melody in my mouth.
The mac and cheese at Almond was absolutely decadent, savory, super rich in taste, the prosciutto added a saltiness that travelled throughout every noodle and just simply added something special to the dish. Now one would think that the truffles would be the something special, but when the menu read “chopped” what they meant was chopped so fine you would not see them or taste them. Now most people know that truffles are a rich delicacy and one has to pay for this fine delicacy, but one should also be able to taste it, but unfortunately that was not case.
Because mac and cheese has a comfort food reputation whenever I order it, I always expect to feel some connection to the chef, I wanna tap into his/her creativity, I wanna get a glimpse of their soul. Now I will not go as far as to write that this mac and cheese was not gratifying, because it certainly was, but heavenly it was not. If it was a little more seasoned, if I didn’t feel so compelled to add some salt after every bite, then this fancy mac and cheese would have the propensity to be absolutely exquisite.
Now Almond I almost feel like a nut, because I would certainly get the fancy mac and cheese again simply because, I am always down to be gratified, and maybe I am a cracked nut for spending the money on truffles that I cannot barely see, but maybe I am nutty like a fox, and willing to get another batch with the hopes that the chef will do a smidgen better and next time he/she will allow me a glimpse into their soul.