Earlier this month, the literature and illustration community lost a great influence of modern children’s literature. Maruice Sendak, the children’s book author best known for his 1963 book Where The Wild Things Are, passed away at the age of 83.
Most have a fond memories of this book, whether having it read to him or herself self as a child or reading it to his or her own child. Children often wonder what could possibly live beyond their own bedrooms, homes, backyards, etc. Sendak gave children the ability to wonder and image a world beyond anything they could have by allowing them to experience the Wild Things with Max.
The influence of Where The Wild Things Are, stretch far beyond childhood and into adulthood in the 2009 mirror-titled movie version, as well as 2009 book adaptation titled The Wild Things by David Eggers. As children’s favorite characters came to life on screen, their parents fell under the same charm. Today, more and more platforms for the 1963 classic are emerging every day. It’s clearer than ever before that Where The Wild Things Are is a classic that defies both time and age.
Max was introduced to the reader as the rambunctious child who was sent to bed without any dinner- a child’s second worst nightmare. The first is getting sent to bed without any dessert. As he drifted off to sleep, an imaginary world of forests grew from his own bedroom. Max sailed across a mysterious sea until he entered the world of Wild Things. The Wild Things are a group of creatures that lived without any rules and without the love of parents. As Max spent more time with the Wild Things, and even became their king, he longed to be where he was loved most of all. When he woke up, he found himself in his room with his supper, still warm.
My favorite dinner to this day is my mom’s macaroni and cheese, a rarity since my dad hates macaroni and cheese almost as much as he hates mashed potatoes- I know, it’s totally bizarre and makes zero sense. If I were sent to bed- at the age of 23- without my mom’s macaroni and cheese, I couldn’t even imagine the night terrors I would have. It’s too creamy and dreamy to not eat Funny thing, when I called my mom to ask her how she makes it, she literally had no idea. Apparently, she doesn’t believe in measurements. This made for an interested few hours, not to mention four trips to the supermarket within three hours.
But where there’s a will, there’s a way… and in this case some macaroni and cheese.
Giselle’s Mac N’ Cheese
1 Pound of macaroni, I used corkscrew shaped pasta called Cavatappi
1/2 Cup butter
1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
3/4 of a pound white American cheese
1 2/3 Cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1/3 Cup grated parmesan cheese, (plus 1/4 cup extra for topping)
4-5 Cups whole milk
1 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Teaspoon black pepper
1/3 Cup Italian-style bread crumbs
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add some salt and toss your pasta in. For Cavatappi, cook for 7-8 minutes or until barely al-dente. Al-dente is when the pasta is just cooked, but still has a nice bite to it. Pasta will continue to cook when in oven. If the pasta is too soft, it will turn into mush. Drain pasta and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 345 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large saucepan, create a roux by melting the butter. Once the butter is completely melted, add the flour and cook until it is a very light brown and forms a paste. This will ensure the flour-like taste is gone. Then, add 4 cups of milk, salt, and pepper on medium-low heat. When it just starts to bubble, add in American cheese, Cheddar cheese, and 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese. Mix constantly until it melts completely and begins to thicken.
- If need be, add more milk if too thick and more flour 1 Tablespoon at a time if it is too thin.
- To ensure an extra creamy texture, I put my cheese mixture into a blender and blended it until all the lumps were gone.
- In the pasta bowl, smother your noodles with the cheese mixture until all the noodles are evenly coated. Top with grated parmesan cheese and the Italian bread crumbs. Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let cool for ten minutes before eating.