COOKING FOR ONE.

WE’RE BACK WITH Herb’s Cooking for One, the show where we cook things guys like to eat. I’m Al, filling in for Herb, who should be out of intensive care any day now, and tonight we’re going to cook an old guy favorite. It’s called Macaroni and Cheese, and I’m going to be adding my own special touch. Should be fun, am I right?

So the first thing we need to know is what the ingredients are. Macaroni and Cheese has basically two ingredients, and see if you can follow me here: the macaroni, which is a bunch of little tube things like the trap under your sink only a whole lot smaller; and the cheese, which is this orange powder stuff.

Usually they come in the same box, but you’ve got to be careful. A lot of those boxes, they have tubes that are straight, like a sewer pipe or something. Folks, that’s just wrong. It’s not American. And don’t get me started on those shell things, which only some flag-hating death-to-America terrorist could have come up with. If your supermarket doesn’t carry the kind that’s curved like a sink trap, tell the manager you’ll report him to Homeland Security. Do it for America. That’s what I did. Of course, I’m not allowed back in the Foodland anymore, so I had to get this stuff at Kuhn’s.

Now, the great thing about Macaroni and Cheese is that it’s got instructions right here on the box. And it says here that the first thing is to cook the macaroni part. So I put that in a pot and turn on the burner. This electric automatic starter thing never works right, so I always have to light mine with a match, which is why I don’t have eyebrows anymore. So we get the burner lit like that, and then we put the macaroni pot on top. So while that’s cooking, we can look at the rest of the instructions and see what else we need. And it says we need half a cup of milk, so let’s take that out of the refrigerator like this, and we’ll pour it into a cup. There we go. You might have to break up some of the chunks like I’m doing, depending on how long the milk’s been in there.

Now it says to add a tablespoon of butter or margarine. You can use either one. Margarine is just the butter that didn’t make the grade. It didn’t pass the quality tests, so they can’t legally call it butter. It’s like butter factory seconds. I learned that on the Internet. It’s not like you’re some fancy-pants gooer-may food critic from France, so you can use margarine if you want. I found something in the refrigerator that looks pretty much like butter or margarine, although it might be some old mayonnaise, I can’t remember, but it’s close enough.

Wow, it sure is getting smoky in here. And I think I know why, too. Now, this is an important thing when you’re cooking. You need to read the instructions carefully. You see what I forgot back here in step one? Well, of course you don’t, because there’s no way the camera can focus on this tiny little print. They should make these instructions bigger. That way we wouldn’t miss steps like this. See, I was supposed to put some water in the pan, too. Well, I’ll just do that now, and that’ll probably cut down on the smoke. Listen to that sizzle! That’s real cooking for you.

So I guess that’s been cooking for a while, so the thing to do here is pour off the water. And it actually helps that I put in the macaroni without the water first, because you see how it stays in the pot when I turn it upside-down? That’s what I like to call improvising.

So the next thing to do is stick in our other ingredients, and then we open up this little package of orange stuff, which is the cheese, and we pour it in there too. Now we stir it around till it’s all orange and black in there, like my old high-school team colors. And then I add my special touch. Are you ready? I’m going to add an ingredient that a lot of real cooks say is their secret weapon. It’s called salt, and it really brings out the flavor of everything. Just open up this lid here and pour! Half a shaker should do.

And there we are! Hope you enjoyed this week’s show. On behalf of Herb, I’d like to thank all you people who’ve sent in get-well cards. I know Herb is really going to appreciate them when he’s conscious again. And that’s it for tonight. I’m Al for Herb’s Cooking for One, saying what Herb always says, which is “Remember, cooking is for guys, too.” Keep cooking, guys! Good night.