So, everybody else enjoying Snownarok 2015? Jazmin and I were pretty well trapped in our apartment for about 36 hours. We met up Monday evening before the snow really got going and enacted our Joint Household Emergency Preparedness Plan, which consisted of plugging all of our favorite widgets in now, in case the power went out later, and then wandering around the Stop & Shop for half an hour, looking for foods we felt would pair well with a regional weather emergency.

I'm pretty used to this, from my days as an undergrad. My alma mater is in a ski town that has a population of 50k when school is in session, dropping to 30k in the off season. Municipal services are a bit of a joke, and Arizona has little regard for human life. Hand to God, my favorite part of weather panics in Boston is that they shut down the T, which means the city is closed for business by default. 'We could technically still run the subway,' is the thinking, 'but if we do that, some idiot will try to use it to get somewhere.' At NAU they used to look at the window at whiteout blizzard conditions, shrug, and tell us to show up for our finals or flunk.

After we got back in with vital survival gear like tater tots and vodka, Jazmin and I enacted the second half of the JHEPP, which is to lie around in the living room and drink until Mother Nature decides we're allowed out of the house again. We find it a versatile emergency plan. The electric company shut us off once because someone who didn't live here owed them $1500, and basically what we did was pop all the glow bracelets in the house and make margaritas before the ice trays melted, while we waited for business hours to roll around again so we could complain at them until they pulled their finger out and turned our power back on.

(Always make sure you have all the liquor you need before the storm hits, kids. And mixers. You cannot forget the mixers. You'll thank me for reminding you to get that powdered lemonade if the power goes out. Warm vodka, neat, tastes goddamn terrible. Also? Cider stands up way better to being room temperature than beer does.)

Anyway, lacking any real direction in our lives until the snow let up, we watched more superhero movies and I made a batch of what I like to refer to as "Macaroni of the Gods". It is wonderful stuff, although if you've spent as many years borderline-starving as I have, it'll give you a heart attack before you even manage to eat it, because it involves dumping about $25 of decent cheese into an 88¢ box of store brand pasta. If you count calories, it'll be quicker and probably more accurate to figure you're just having a plate of solid cheese.

Instructions for assembly are as follows:
1 box pasta (rotini, penne, rigatoni, something in that general shape)
2 zucchini or yellow squash (acorn and butternut are too sweet; eggplant can be used if you like)
8oz Havarti
8oz aged Irish white cheddar
8oz Monterey Jack
8oz mozzarella
1c whole milk
1 stick butter
olive oil
flour
nutmeg
fresh dill
fresh chives

Cook the box of pasta however it is you cook pasta. Err on the side of underdone rather than over. Drain. Pour into a casserole dish or two. A pound of pasta will fill a couple of 8" x 8" casseroles, or probably one deep 9"x 13" cake pan.

Chop the squash into pieces about the same size and shape as your pasta. Pan fry in olive oil until tender. Sprinkle on some nutmeg partway through, when you remember you have that, and sometimes people put it on squash. Justify your decision by reminding yourself that your roommate is not a fussy eater and will probably put up with anything that qualifies as edible if she's had enough vodka cocoa. Dump the squash on top of the casserole dishes of pasta.

Grate the Havarti. Grate the cheddar. Grate the Monterey Jack. Remember that you do have that roommate around, that she can't get out of the apartment anymore either, and that she does not technically need both her hands to read fanfic on AO3. Walk the mozzarella, the cheese grater, and an empty salad bowl out into the living room, and request that she get to work.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Remember which burner is the oven vent, and don't put any of the plastic bowls filled with grated cheese on it.

Recall that you do not own a proper double boiler. Find your roommate's giant Pyrex punch bowl. Realize that the only pan that's going to balance on nicely is the pasta pot whose contents you just dumped into a colander, and thence into the casserole dishes. Fill the pasta pot with water again, put it back on the burner with the Pyrex bowl set on top, and wait for it to boil. Run out of patience and drop the stick of butter into the bowl while you wait, figuring the whole point of a double boiler is that you can't burn anything like that anyway. Poke it repeatedly with the whisk as time passes with excruciating slowness.

When the butter is properly melted, whisk in somewhere around a quarter cup of flour, a little at a time, until smooth. Pour in the cup of whole milk, continuing to whisk until there aren't any lumps left, almost like you actually know what you're doing! Add the Havarti, the cheddar, and the Monterey Jack, a handful at a time, stirring constantly until the punch bowl is full of something that looks remarkably like a béchamel-based cheese sauce. Finely chop some chives and dill and stir them into the cheese bowl.

Pour the giant bowl of cheese goo evenly over the pasta. Top with grated mozzarella. Bake for about half an hour-ish, then stick under a low broiler until the cheese on top starts to brown.

Stack all of the cookware you've just dirtied into the sink, where you can forget about it until tomorrow morning. Allow the pasta a few minutes to cool, then get impatient and serve it anyway. Eat, accompanied by hard cider, while you watch the snow swallow up your neighbor's garden fence and wonder how the hell anybody intends to get to work the next morning.

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