What a friend we have in mac­a­roni cheeses

Tyler’s Ul­ti­mate 6pm, LifeStyle Food

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

I’M sorry. There are lim­its. I hon­estly be­lieve the av­er­age Aus­tralian viewer in­ter­ested in food ( and who else would be tun­ing into a food pro­gram?) will find this se­ries in­sult­ing at worst and a waste of valu­able time at the very least.

‘‘ I’m telling ya, this is the most fab­u­lous soup,’’ Tyler Florence tells us. The soup is tomato: with onion, gar­lic, chicken stock and . . . toma­toes. All right, he roasts the toma­toes.

There’s much worse. As a child, Tyler ate mac­a­roni cheese two or three times a week.

Well, what can I say? Such abuse would en­gen­der in the adult Tyler a vi­o­lent re­ac­tion re­sult­ing in an all­con­sum­ing, in­ves­tiga­tive in­ter­est in food or a life­long ret­ro­grade de­sire for mac­a­roni cheese. In­deed, both th­ese things have hap­pened.

But must we go down this sorry path with him?

We en­dure de­tailed in­struc­tions on how to make white sauce ( with but­ter and flour: ‘‘ You know what I’m talk­ing about, it’s flour and but­ter, mixed to­gether, and it’s go­ing to be the binder that holds the sauce to­gether’’), and the op­tions ( skim milk, whole milk, even a bit of cream).

Tyler de­vi­ates slightly from the or­di­nary in his use of kosher salt, which has ‘‘ a clean, slightly salty flavour’’. We learn how to take the dried mac­a­roni out of the packet and throw it into the wa­ter.

Then it’s back to the roux (‘‘ Now, in a clas­sic French kitchen this would be con­sid­ered a mor­nay sauce at this point, right?’’). We stir our milk into our roux, and stir and thicken our flour and but­ter. This is as riv­et­ing as watch­ing paint dry.

But now a mo­ment of ex­cite­ment: ‘‘ At this point, if ya see a cou­pla lumps . . .’’ Then an an­ar­chic turn of events as Tyler re­veals he likes a bit of green.

Chop, chop, chop. He adds some pars­ley: ‘‘ If ya don’t wanna do this, I un­der­stand, ya don’t have to do this, if your fam­ily doesn’t like pars­ley.’’

We switch back to the ul­ti­mate tomato soup, in which chicken stock out of a box ‘‘ is to­tally fine’’, the flavours marry to­gether, I’m telling ya, it’s fan­tas­tic, you’re gunna love it. I think I’m start­ing to turn into Tyler. But I swear to you, dizzy as I am be­com­ing, it’s the ul­ti­mate mac­a­roni cheese and soup, fan­tas­tic, you’re gunna love it, all right.

He did say ‘‘ if you’re a fan of cream that’s made of soup’’. I played it back three times. The rush and rep­e­ti­tion with no con­tent is even get­ting to Tyler. Or maybe it’s that life­time of mac­a­roni cheese.

Ju­dith Elen

Sauce of dis­con­tent: TV cook Tyler Florence

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