Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Must Have Book for Mac and Cheese Lovers -- MELT: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese by Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord (Review)

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in order to write up an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.

Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese

ISBN: 978-0316213370
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Date of Publish: October 2013
Pages: 224
S.R.P.: $30 
More on Melt:


"Macaroni and cheese, together and individually, have existed in various forms in various cultures for hundreds of years. A near-perfect blend of foods, with innumerable delicious combinations, the dish has become a favorite fare of people the world over. Yet, since its introduction, it hasn’t evolved expansively—until now.

Foodies and writers Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord pay tribute to the beloved traditional recipes while simultaneously reinventing them in MELT: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese (Little, Brown and Company; Oct. 22, 2013; $30.00; Hardcover). Perfectly timed for American Cheese Month (October), MELT fuses gourmet ingredients with a wide array of pastas and handcrafted cheeses for rich, creamy, and elegant comfort dishes that will appeal to mac ’n’ cheese traditionalists and experimenters alike—and, of course, to cheese lovers everywhere!

Complete with a useful cheese compendium and resources to help readers shop for, store, shred, and present cheeses, MELT encourages home cooks of all levels to incorporate fresh, simple ingredients into the everyday comfort food they know and love, creating surprising and mouthwatering offerings such as:

  •  Radicchio, Mango, and Mozzarella Salad with Cavatappi, bright with citrus, light enough to be an appetizer yet substantial enough for an entrée 
  •  Brillat-Savarin (“the ice cream of cheese”) with Fusilli, Pears, Fennel, and Torn Croissant Topping, featuring a lusciously rich, buttery texture 
  • Drunken Goat with Edamame, Fennel, and Rotini, a salad that’s perfect for outdoor picnics and potlucks 
  • Point Reyes Original Blue with Pecans, Figs, and Shell Pasta, which exquisitely balances savory and sweet for a great side dish or stand-alone entrée

Each recipe features alternative cheeses, suggested wine pairings, and additional ingredient pairings and encourages experimentation. MELT brings mac and cheese firmly into the realm of New American cuisine, taking it out of the box (literally) and elevating it to a level that will delight even the most sophisticated palates. From elegant, bright salads and gourmet entrées to creative Thanksgiving-leftover ideas and unusual desserts that are sure to impress, the recipes in MELT will excite everyone who loves a good bowl of macaroni and cheese, which is to say everyone."


My Thoughts:

One of my all-time favorite comfort foods, next to chicken noodle soup, is mac and cheese.  And, with two toddlers in the house, I make my fair share of the cheesy goodness on a weekly basis.  I prefer to make mac and cheese for them (and me, if there are leftovers -- :-)  I usually make enough for leftovers), as the flavor and taste is much richer and authentic than that you would get from making the boxed version.  I will not lie, if I am in a pinch, I will grab a box of mac and cheese from the pantry -- but, even the girls can tell the difference between box mac and cheese and homemade.  Got to love their palates. :-)

Last month, I read a press release about a book coming out that was all about mac and cheese.  At first, I thought to myself, why didn't I think of this...followed by the mouthwatering desire to make a bowl of homemade mac and cheese for the girls, as the mention of some of the recipes included in the book, got me hungry and craving this comfort food.  Before turning the computer off, I quickly hit the reply button and asked for a review copy to be sent.  I was so excited to read this book like a novel, and become an expert of sorts in the art of mac and cheese.  And, since receiving, I have to say, that mac and cheese, although simple in nature, really is a sophisticated dish that can be enjoyed by both children and adults.  I ended up flagging half the book, with the recipes I wanted to try. 

The authors of this book are foodies, and lovers of mac and cheese, and you can see this in their writing, and how they not only pay tribute to traditional recipes, but also take time in reinventing them, to give a new spin on this comfort food.  Did you ever think to turn leftover Thanksgiving dinner into "Turkey and Robusto Mac-and-Cheeselets"?  

This recipe calls for leftover turkey and Gouda-style cheese.  I can't wait to give this recipe a try, instead of just using the leftover turkey for soup and sandwiches.  And, I know my family will go crazy for it, and be surprised when they find that turkey goes well with mac-and-cheese.

Other recipes that caught my eye and that I have had a chance to try since receiving this cookbook and ode to mac and cheese a few weeks ago include:

  • Toma Macaroni Egg Rolls w/ Spicy-Sweet Dipping Sauce -- This has turned into one of Savannah's favorite finger foods, and has become popular at Sunday Football gatherings at our house.
  • Pumpkin stuffed with Fontina, Italian Sausage and Macaroni -- Ahh, this is to die for.  If you still have pumpkins from Halloween, this would make for a great conversation starter at your next dinner party.  The combination of Fontina, Gruyere cheeses, make this one of the gooest, yet tastiest mac-and-cheese dishes I have ever tried.  And, the inclusion of the sausage -- I used a spicy one -- gives it an added kick!
  • Baked Ziti with Ricotta Sopraffina -- Being Italian, I love Ricotta cheese, and try to use it in many recipes I create, or simply add dolleps on homemade pizza.  This recipe really makes the ricotta cheese the star of the show.  And, who doesn't love baked ziti.  I would choose baked pasta over boiled pasta any day. 

And, this upcoming weekend, I plan to make Chili-Mac with Redwood Hill Smoked Goat Cheddar, when family and friends come to help put up the Christmas tree, and the holidays started. :-)  So, if you love cookbooks and read them like novels like I do, or find comfort in a big bowl of ooey-gooey mac-and-cheese, then you will want to pick up a copy of  MELT: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese by Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord.  This cookbook would also make a great gift for that special foodie in your life, or that hard to shop for person on your holiday shopping list, as everyone loves mac-and-cheese.

I can't wait to try out the Chili-Mac with Redwood Hill Smoked Goat Cheddar, and other recipes I flagged in MELT: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese by Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord.  Not only are they easy to make, but all the recipes I have tried thus far, taste amazing.  And, paired with the right wine, make for a great date night at home, or even late night snack.  :-)

About the Authors:

STEPHANIE STIAVETTI is a freelance food writer, recipe developer, and digital food-media mistress residing in Oakland, California. Her work has been featured on NPR, Huffington Post, KQED, Culinate, and Serious Eats. A tech maven at heart, Stephanie has been blogging since before blogging was invented. You can find her online at her award-winning food blog,

GARRETT MCCORD is a freelance food writer, writing teacher, and recipe developer. He has a master’s degree in English composition and has written for Gourmet Live, Huffington Post, Epicurious, Cheese Connoisseur, and many other online and print publications. You can also find him online, scrawling away at his popular food blog, He lives in Sacramento, California, with his husband, Brian; their two needy cats; and a Corgi named Jack.

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in order to write up an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.


  1. wow i never knew this was an art! i didnt realize you could do so many things with mac and cheese!

  2. Thank you so much for your kind review! :)