Grown-ups should always be involved in any activities involving heat, sharp knives and appliances.
This homemade macaroni and cheese is even better than the kind in a box. It’s packed with the “fifth taste,” umami, which describes the Parmesan flavor you’ll find in the creamy cheese sauce, along with crispy bacon, cherry tomatoes, and the crunchy breadcrumb topping. This recipe makes a BIG batch of macaroni and cheese, so you will have some to share with your friends and family or extras for your lunchbox tomorrow. (You can easily divide this recipe in half, by reducing the measurements and by using an 8-by-8-inch casserole dish instead.) Instead of just the traditional cheddar cheese, this recipe also includes both Parmesan and Gruyère. It’s fun to taste the individual cheeses and decide on a blend that you want to use. If you don’t like Gruyère, add another cheese (or more cheddar) instead!
Umami is taste #5 (after sweet, salty, sour and bitter.)
“Umami” is a Japanese word that basically means “deliciousness.” It’s a taste found in all food, from tomatoes to tuna fish, but some foods have more umami than others. What does umami taste like? Savory and wonderful. It also magically makes the other four tastes stronger and better.
The best way to learn about this mystical fifth taste is to try different kinds of foods that are heavy in umami. Some kid-friendly starters: soy sauce, Parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and cured ham. Once you’ve sampled in-your-face umami, you’ll be able to recognize subtler hints of taste number five in other foods.