Who makes the better mac?
If there’s one thing that celebrities do well, it’s everything! Naturally, this extends to the culinary world. These days you can’t enter a bookstore without seeing a cookbook written by a shiny person from television. It’s impossible to look away. You feel so safe gazing into their eyes. It’s even better when two married celebrities each publish their very own cookbooks, because it makes a direct comparison almost inevitable. As you may have surmised, I am preparing you for this exact situation. It’s time for another celebrity cookbook throwdown.
Actors Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar have been married since their late ‘90s heyday and by all accounts have a healthy, loving relationship. I assume that once this article is published they will both be consumed with white-hot jealousy and resentment, no matter who wins, but for now they’re keeping up the act. Prinze’s Back to the Kitchen and Gellar’s Stirring Up Fun with Food both have recipes for mac and cheese, so no matter what happens to their union, I get to eat two kinds of mac and cheese, so any outcome is fine for me.
Will Sarah Michelle’s mac “slay” the competition, or is Freddie’s really “all that”?
Let’s talk briefly about the purpose of each cookbook, because they seem designed for different audiences. Gellar’s book takes a more kid-friendly, crafty approach. The driving motivation seems to be helping mothers get their no-good kids to eat healthful and substantive food by making it “fun” and “interactive.” Prinze is more straightforward with his recipes. He simply presents a collection of dishes that he learned to make during his childhood, each with a colorful accompanying story that sometimes features other celebrities (“Parker Posey loved these pancakes”).
For his mac and cheese, Prinze goes the traditional route, opting for a four-cheese mac topped off with breadcrumbs and fresh parmesan. Gellar changes it up a bit, offering mac and cheese “cupcakes” baked in a muffin tin. I’ll give her points for presentation and portion control.
So, how did they taste?
Prinze’s dish started out more promising. The blend of cheddar, gruyere, fontina, and parmesan is hard to mess up, so I had high hopes. However, the 45-minute baking time yielded a final product that was far past “golden brown” and further into “chestnut” territory. Fifteen minutes could easily be knocked off the cooking time, leaving the cheese nice and melted while providing some much-needed moisture. Prinze’s pasta was a little dry but still tasty. Next time I make it, it will be outstanding
As for Sarah’s mac muffins, there just isn’t a good way to get the mac balls out of the muffin tins intact. The recipe suggests greasing the tins and then dusting them with freshly grated parm. “Oh yeah, this will definitely work” I thought sarcastically while doing exactly that. Surprise! It didn’t, and I ended up with dry chunks of dense mac and cheese in no specific shape. This recipe could also benefit from a shorter cooking time. In addition, the novelty of the muffin tin didn’t really provide anything new in the way of flavor or convenience and it’s hardly worth the hassle. Both recipes could benefit from a few substantial tweaks, but neither was a complete disaster.
And the winner is: Freddie Prinze Jr.!
His mac is definitely closer to “all that” than Sarah’s, but neither has a serious shot at being prom queen anytime soon.