This past Sunday’s lunch with the family started off as usual: my niece and nephew fighting over who gets to sit next to Aunt Julie at T.G.I. Friday’s. One of these days, they’ll finally figure out that when you’re at a table, there is enough room to share me.
Unfortunately, I may never learn the trick of coloring on two different placemats at the same time, although I’m getting better at tracking separate Tic-Tac-Toe games.
So the news this Sunday was that both kiddie-boos were allowed to order macaroni and cheese off the kids’ menu, a treat that sent them into orbit, even if it did come with the caveat that they had to order something healthy to accompany it. “Aunt Julie, don’t you just love macaroni and cheese? I might share a bite with you.” Unfortunately, I was in one of those moods where nothing looked good on the menu, so “mac ‘n cheese” kept echoing through my brain, refusing to shut up. Or maybe it was my niece’s voice — it’s hard to tell when you’re hungry and distracted.
And that’s when my eye landed on the Gourmet Mac N Five Cheese entree for grown-ups. We’re not talking elbow macaroni coated in Velveeta here. It’s penne pasta with fontina, bleu, gruyer, white cheddar and parmesan cheeses, and topped with a grilled chicken breast as my healthy penitance. I didn’t even have to feel guilty, since it was on TGI Friday’s Right Portion, Right Price section of the menu.
It was good. I can’t complain about its flavor, preparation or presentation. But you know, this fancy dish sitting between two bowls of traditional macaroni and cheese somehow seemed all wrong. Not even my strawberry lemonade could make up for the fact that I really missed being in the first grade at that moment.
Even if it would have meant I had to eat carrot sticks with my lunch.
6915 West 38th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46254
Photography: T.G.I. Friday’s, rochelle, et. all