There are times when, despite your best efforts, everything goes awry. In those times you might feel an overwhelming urge to give up altogether. These days, we expect those moments. However, a willingness to be resourceful, and the possibility of fortuity on the luck side of the ledger can be just the thing to pull you through. With that in mind I thought I’d share a recipe: Waiting for E.I. Bacon Mac & Cheese. 

1.) First, you’ll want to start with nothing. Make sure every scrap of potato that’s not brown has been cut out and cooked. Be sure that half-loaf of bread that was lost in the back of the freezer for a year has been rescued and toasted; coat that toast with remnants from a bottle of olive oil you weren’t sure if you could use ’cause it froze overnight on the counter because you sure as shit couldn’t leave the heat on.

2.) Next, have your Mom invite you to dinner next week, for her birthday, and bring yourself to tell her you won’t be able to go because your gas tank is even drier than year-old toasted bread. If she offers money, refuse: you’re too old for that now. It’s not worth the despair it’d create.

3.) Next, have your mom, who’s more stubborn than you, show up the next evening with groceries and a hug. Hug back with everything you’ve got.

4.) Be so exhausted that you can’t really bring yourself to make anything but for cheese on toast.

5.) Now, when you’re about halfway through the square of Sobey’s marble your brain’ll feel something it hasn’t felt in a while, an idea. Don’t be alarmed, this is just something that happens when you get to eat. Realize that you could stretch out the rest of the cheese into something actually delicious.

6.) Put a deep pan on the stove. Fire in the last chunk of butter you’ve got, realizing that it’s not near enough. Root around in the fridge until you find that mason jar of bacon fat that you had been straining every morning when you discovered that Costco has bacon, which got out of hand, and you had to give it up, though those extra 20 pounds just came in handy and are gone now so don’t feel bad. Scoop out a generous dollop and chuck it in with the butter.

7.) While that’s combining and melting, put a pot of water on the boil.

8.) Next, grate the cheese. I know it’s not a lot, but it’s enough. Tie a bow around your cheese grater. Now it’s pretty great. Huck the cheese in the pan.

9.) The water should be on the go there now, so dig around the back of your cupboards until you find that bag of pasta shells you opened three years ago, but then realized you had nothing to use with them and then forgot about them. They’re still fine. The amount you need is all of them, huck ’em in.

10.) Stretch out the cheese with the milk Mom brought over. Keep stretching. I know 🙁 but it’s all you’ve got.

12.) When all that’s good to go, combine it in some kind of dishware that can go in the oven. Stir it up, and if you still have panko crumbs from that time you decided you were going to get into cooking, but then never followed up, sprinkle them on top.

13.) As you go to put it in the oven, realize you forgot to preheat the oven. Use Cathy Bennett’s name in vain. Turn on the oven, give it a few minutes, then whack that pan on in there.

14.) While it’s cooking you might be tempted to consider how long you’ll have to live on it, or how many bacon macaroni and cheeses Ed Martin can make with his severance package. Resist that urge.

15.) Now just take it out, serve it up, get some pepper on there, and enjoy in front of whichever DVD you got from the library this week. Remember, just because you’re sporting lint doesn’t mean you can’t live it up like the rest of them‎.