Moving deeper into the menu of the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen, we find that there are a wide variety of choices to suit any number of hungry crew members. One item that always seems to be a crowd pleaser, whether you are nine or ninety, is macaroni and cheese. However, Skip’s Mac & Cheese isn’t your grandfather’s pasta dish. Well, unless your name is Alberta and your grandfather is Dr. Falls, in which case it’s exactly like your grandfather’s macaroni and cheese! But, I digress.
The menu provides some context for the port of call where the skippers first tried this mac and cheese variation. Based on an Egyptian recipe, Skip’s Mac & Cheese utilizes corkscrew pasta, also known as cavatappi, as its foundation. Added to the pasta is a ground beef that has been prepared with African spices and a béchamel sauce. Béchamel is a white sauce that starts off a as roux (butter and flour), with milk and sometimes cheese added in later. It is a much lighter cheese sauce than most macaroni and cheese dishes use. Served alongside the pasta are a couple of stalks of broccoli, more of the broccolini family, because you should always have something green when you’re dining in a jungle!
Skip’s Mac & Cheese comes in a heaping portion. The top layer of sauce has some of the crispy, burnt bits of cheese that I love, but it isn’t the entire layer which is nice as I know some people don’t love this preparation. Being a thinner sauce, the béchamel has worked its way into every nook and cranny the spiral past provides. The spiced beef mixture isn’t immediately visible, but is tucked in the middle of the dish. To get everything in one bite, you’re going to have to do some mixing.
The flavors here are wonderful, but not typical of a macaroni and cheese prepared stateside. By that I mean Skip’s Mac & Cheese could have come right off of the menu at Boma or Tusker House, and not straight out of the Friar’s Nook in Fantasyland. The béchamel is rich, but isn’t overpowered by the cheese flavors. The pasta was well prepared, and the beef brings a whole new flavor spectrum to the dish. There were definite hints of cinnamon or clove with tomato worked in for good measure, which may be a little alarming to your ten-year-old mac and cheese aficionado. If you pay attention to the menu description, you shouldn’t be surprised by what the Skipper Canteen serves up.
We loved the Skip’s Mac & Cheese! It’s a new play on an old favorite, and fits in perfectly with the widening menu options available within the Magic Kingdom. The rivers of the world have been explored by the skippers of the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd., and they’ve brought back some winners, including this dish, to the Skippers Canteen. It may not be for everyone, but if you’re willing to take a little risk with your Adventureland dining, then this will be your reward!