First of all, I found the Good Eats cookbook at a local library and let me just say, Wow, the book is huge!! Browsing through it I find many of the tidbits helpful and interesting, but I wish it was organized better. You have to read so much to get everything! I also wish there was a table of contents with each episode name listed. The index is ok, but not thorough enough. This mac n cheese recipe wasn't listed under 'cheese' but only under 'macaroni.' And what's up with the "applications" and "software" business? I find that annoying as well. I'm glad I'm able to check this out from the library because it's resourceful, but I don't see myself buying the book, especially since I can get the recipes online.
Ok, on to my food! Like everyone else has said so far, this isn't the best mac n cheese recipe out there, even though Alton Brown says it is. Like his nephew (who's not really his nephew, he admits in the book) said in that video clip, I prefer the stuff from the box. At least over this recipe.
I didn't know how to best tweak it, so I just added more salt and pepper than it called for. I don't know how much salt I added, I just kept adding it til it tasted better, which means it probably had way more than I should admit. :) The book doesn't mention using a bay leaf but I noticed the online recipe does, so I added it halfway through. When eating this it didn't taste too bland, but the taste was just off. For me I think it was the onions. If I were to make this again I'd leave them out. Ham would have been really nice but I didn't have any on hand.
This recipe wasn't a complete waste because my super picky almost 2 year old ate some, I learned what it means to temper an egg, and I learned what Panko bread crumbs are (had never heard of them before). I also found it interesting that he says to rinse the pasta in cold water to stop the cooking....every other source I've learned from has said NOT to rinse pasta! I never knew why though, so I almost always do. Now it makes sense to rinse the pasta to stop the cooking, so rinsing I will continue to do!