I didn’t realize it until this morning but I had a retro food day yesterday. I was home writing grants after a big giveaway at CRC and just sat around in my P.J.’s smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. Grant writing can be fun when the funders don’t ask the exact same question five different ways, forcing you to come up with five different ways to answer the question. At any rate, I was hungry and meandered into the kitchen to see what I could scratch up. And what just drew me in was a peanut butter and butter (real butter) sandwich. My mom used to make them for us because, I think, she must have run out of jelly. There’s something about the rich nuttiness of peanut butter and the luxuriousness of butter that just go together for me. Or maybe it’s a 40-year-old food memory.

So ate the sandwich. Finished a grant. Decided to go to the grocery store to pick up stuff for supper and find something for lunch. Nothing is calling to me. Nothing in the entire 18,000-square-foot grocery store is calling to me (although I picked up some Dover Sole for supper which is bad, bad because I think it’s on the endangered species list but I love it and hardly ever see it at Publix).

As I was heading down the pasta aisle, I glanced at that distinctive blue box with the orange noodles on it and remembered that I did indeed have a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese at home. Yes, the stuff with the powdered yellow packet that smells exactly like Cheetos. You have to ignore the package instructions. Boil the noodles for only 6 minutes. Add three tablespoons of butter. Melt it into the noodles and then add the orange packet. Stir to mix well and – here’s the key – add just enough milk to make a glutinous mass. Don’t make it too creamy. Sit at the kitchen counter and eat it right out of the pot with a big spoon. The whole thing. Well, I was virtuous and washed about three tablespoons of it down the disposal.

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is also a food memory. I don’t know how I got started on it, but it’s always been the ultimate sinful treat. When I had surgery a few years ago (colon cancer – everything’s A-O.K.) the only things I craved after the anesthesia shot my taste buds for a few weeks were smoked almonds and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

Today it will be back to the straight and narrow. Oh, and the dover sole was scrumptious.

Dover Sole

4-5 Dover Sole filets

4 tablespoons butter

Flour mixed with salt and pepper

1 tablespoon lemon zest

Juice of 1 lemon

Handful of capers

Sift the flour and add salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the filets in the flour. Heat half the butter in a skillet until sizzling. Add the filets, as many as will comfortably fit. Saute until lightly brown. Flip, and add half the zest and lemon juice plus half the capers. Remove fish when done and saute remaining filets, adding the rest of the zest, juice and capers.

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