The Luxury Additions Anthony Bourdain Said Never Belong In Mac And Cheese

Have you ever been to a restaurant where the atmosphere doesn't seem to fit some of the items on the menu? For all the glitz and glamour, you'd question why there is something as seemingly mundane as mac and cheese on the menu. Looking a little closer, however, you'll notice that it's chock full of luxury ingredients like lobster and truffle oil. You'll think: Does that really belong in mac and cheese? The late Anthony Bourdain would have uttered an emphatic, "NO!"

Having rounded up the kitchen staff for questioning against this perceived crime against a culinary staple, Bourdain would have dutifully admonished them for even remotely considering putting either lobster or truffle oil in a mac and cheese. Really? Did he take mac and cheese that seriously? Yes, he did. 

We invite you to take a look at the following excerpt from his own mac and cheese recipe, pulled from his 2016 cookbook "Appetites." Bourdain wrote: "Get that damn lobster out of my mac and cheese! Truffles do not make it better. If you add truffle oil, which is made from a petroleum-based chemical additive and the crushed dreams of nineties culinary mediocrity, you should be punched in the kidneys." No follower of Bourdain would be at all shocked by such a wonderfully lyrical put-down. That being said, Bourdain's mac and cheese preferences were about as non-elitist as you could get.

Plain ol' Mac and cheese

"Appetites" is filled with recipes that, despite Bourdain's years of international travel and eating, are a collection of good, old-fashioned comfort food. And, honestly, is there any food more comforting than mac and cheese? Bourdain's own recipe is straightforward and uncomplicated. He spices it up a little with additions like mustard powder, cayenne pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Still, the recipe's core is a combination of elbow macaroni, butter, milk, four different types of cheese, and some cubed ham thrown in for good measure. It's something he once described to Vice as a great hangover cure.

Aside from making his own, however, Bourdain was not above eating fast food mac and cheese. "To me, Popeyes is exotica," he once told People after a trip to China. "I was eating noodles and roast goose and Chinese food for the last 10 days. So to be back and eat some Americana food, well, I will weep with gratitude at macaroni and cheese."

For someone who ate in some of the world's most far-flung places, returning home and engaging in pure, unadulterated comfort was a huge pleasure for Bourdain. So, to put things as unnecessary as lobster or truffle oil into mac and cheese was nothing short of a culinary crime.