by jemma margaret

Last weekend, before embarking over (under) to London to visit family, I had to make a big decision.

What to bring as a host gift?

First, I bought some fleur de sel avec cinq poivres from the farmer’s market. However, this seemed a little meager, and coming from Paris I would imagine expectations of wonders might be high (prepping for Christmas, too). On the other hand, I was arriving on Friday night for a belated Thanksgiving celebration–so a loaf of bread or box of éclairs or bag of duck confit might prove redundant (unfortunately, the latter can’t make it through US customs).

My cousin (hello Jenni!), coming from Switzerland, was bringing shortbread, which seemed circumlocutious until she explained it was candied ginger shortbread–and quite delicious I must say.

Cheese was also a smart option, but simultaneously risky. What if no one liked brie de mieux? Would I have to (get to) eat 500 grams of comté by myself?

So I went with those pretty little icons of Parisian chic–macarons. They arrived not totally intact, and were forgotten about until two days later when, with the leftover pie, cake, shortbread, and some mysterious chocolate gift, they weren’t the most necessary of presents.

To double my folly (I study mathematics, so making two negatives is a very logical decision), I decided to bring cheese back with me.

What?!? You exclaim aghast. You brought cheese TO France?

In my defense (defence?) it is British cheddar and it is a fine old piece of cow’s milk. However, at my current rate of consumption, I might not get to the whole thing before the mold does. Furthermore, I seem to be having a problem with my new cow’s milk in that it begins to curdle after about 5 days. It isn’t a stinky gone bad kind of curdling, just a “hmm probably shouldn’t put this in tea unless I want to eat my tea with a fork” kind.

The answer is of course macaroni and cheese. The question: Do you have a recipe to share?