Park Slope is the mac ’n cheese of nyc neighborhoods. And not an artisanal macaroni and cheese, either. More like a boxed pasta with the powdered cheese packet, where the most adventurous thing that happens is the addition of a few drops of Cholula
Don’t take this wrong. Boxed mac & cheese is far from a damaged or morally bankrupt dinner. [Arguably] It’s at the pinnacle of American ingenuity – an omnipresent, inexpensive, mildly nutritious carbohydrate festival. Who is not more than satisfied after downing a generous serving of boxed macaroni and cheese?
Enjoyment quotient aside, however, even the most organic boxed mac & cheese still is processed food, far removed from the original sources of the ingredients. About the same distance as Park Slope from any actual farmland.
There’s not much adversity, or diversity for that matter, inside a bowl of macaroni and cheese. All components become the same color, everything’s the same texture, and every bite delivers exactly the same flavor experience.
This dish is is a safe, comfortable place for most folks. You don’t prepare a bowl of mac ’n cheese so much as draw one and slip into it like a bath. In this age, escape means more a retreat to the familiar than an exploration of the unknown.
I won’t begrudge Park Slopers one bit, though. I am one (for 15 years, and for now), and enjoy the place because most people project an outward, Bär-shoes level of comfort with the world. For a lot of Slopers, there is no more familiar or comfortable home than one inside of a boxed macaroni and cheese, and who wouldn’t want to live that life?