Been & Going

[Citizen Filter]: How To Make Mac And Cheese On November 24

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  1. Drive home with the radio on. Consider turning the radio off because you don’t want to crash. Be absurdly grateful that the cops are slowing traffic down right when the decision is read. Realize that it is because you are passing the exits to Crenshaw, Leimert Park, and West Adams. Get angrier and sadder all at once.

  2. Clutch the wheel until you realize your hands are going numb. Go to the grocery store. Hope irrationally that no one talks to you, because you don’t have anything to say today. Buy milk, cheese, wine, and a can of cinnamon rolls. Think about salad. Decide against salad. Salad is for easier times.

  3. Try to pay, think you lost your debit card. Freak out a little. Apologize a lot. Get home, park, realize your debit card was in your wallet the whole time, just in the wrong slot. Consider calling the store to apologize. Realize that doing that would be the mark of a crazy person.

  4. Put on water to boil. Wash the lid, but don’t dry it. Put the bottle of white wine in the freezer.

  5. Melt half a stick of butter in a pan on too-high heat. Turn down the heat. Realize it’s too much butter. Decide not to care.

  6. Pour the macaroni in the boiling water. Stir it a couple times.

  7. Throw a handful of flour into the butter. Stir it around. Think about Ezell Ford. Wonder what his family is feeling. Now you’ve got a roux.

    black lives matter

  8. Realize that you forgot to grate the cheese. Turn the heat off on the roux. Grate the cheese. Contemplate just eating the cheese and abandoning the mac. Grate more cheese.

  9. Turn the heat back on the roux. Stir it until it starts smelling good and not like flour anymore. Pour in milk, a little bit at a time. Stir it thoroughly, carefully, until you have a velvety pile of what looks like whipped goat cheese. Wonder if Mike Brown’s mom makes mac and cheese this way. Mutter “fuck it, none of this matters” and pour the rest of the milk in too quickly. Now your bechamel has all the heft of milk.

  10. Drain your pasta most of the way but not all the way because there are still dishes in the sink and you can’t be bothered to do them and pull out the colander.

  11. (Wonder ten minutes later why your pasta is overcooked and realize it is because you’ve basically been steaming it with the water left in the bottom of the pot.)

  12. Turn the heat up on the mostly-cold mostly-milk bechamel and stir in the cheese a little at a time. Remember Tamir Rice. Wonder if he liked mac and cheese. Throw in the rest of the cheese and a whole lot of black pepper and paprika and chili powder.

  13. Pull out a big bowl. Stir around the macaroni that is sticking to itself and breaking apart and start to pour it into the bowl. Pour in disgusting and starchy cooking water. Pour the water out of the bowl. Spoon the pasta into the bowl. Stir it again. Take the wine out of the freezer.

                                justice for

  14. Stare vacantly at the bowl for a while, thinking about Renisha McBride.

  15. Stir the cheese sauce. Ask it angrily why it won’t thicken. Turn the heat up.

  16. Repeat previously two steps, replacing Renisha McBride with Trayvon Martin, Danroy Henry, John Crawford III, the Scottsboro Boys, and on and on and on until you can’t stand to think anymore.

  17. Pour the sauce over the pasta. Struggle to open the bottle of wine. Find a bag of butter lettuce in the fridge and make a salad, because the sun will rise again tomorrow and you’ll need your vitamins. Pour a big glass of wine.

  18. Eat your food. Sift through Twitter. Message your friend about the links between poverty, violence, power, and racism. Tell her to get home safe. Pour more wine when she says “I will, I’m white.” Share messages about Ferguson. Look for updates on national protests. Wonder if making mac and cheese is racist at a time like this. Despair at your own internal racism. Hope you can be better than you are and listen more, do more.

  19. Don’t cry. You have no right to cry, because your sons, if you have them, will probably be white, and will live.

  20. Make your can of cinnamon rolls. Eat two. Go to bed. Wake up and do the work.

Use recipe whenever a person of color is gunned down by law enforcement. You may care to increase your exercise regime as more ad-hoc executions of people for the crime of living are expected this year. Side effects may include anger, frustration, rage, shame, and a sense of helplessness. If you are an educated white person with adequate financial resources, the sense of helplessness is psychosomatic and may be treated by checking yourself, donating to civil rights organizations, taking to the streets in solidarity, and shutting the hell up about how what people of color are saying is true is not in your experience and is therefore invalid. You might also read James Baldwin, bell hooks, James H. Cone, and Alice Walker.

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Mac and cheese will keep for 5-7 days in an airtight container in the fridge, and racial discrimination and criminalization of people of color apparently has no expiration date, because everything is terrible forever and America continues to be broken.