Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Important Question

Macaroni and Cheese:

The kind that it takes four hours to make? Six different kinds of expensive cheeses with unpronounceable French names? A touch of wine, white pepper, real butter, flour, and whole cream. A bain marie for the cheese sauce, a large pot for the fresh made pasta, three metal spoons and one large wooden one. A spatula. A colander. And a casserole dish for the finished product which is baked in the oven under a crust of seasoned breadcrumbs. Finished dish is creamy white and a meal that serves ten close friends.

Or the electric yellow stuff that comes from a box, made by Kraft as God intended?

Think carefully, it's important.

The correct answer may grant you entry to the shelter when the Zombie Apocalypse comes, the wrong answer may result in your gruesome untimely demise and reanimation as the shambling undead.


  1. Not that I eat Mac n' Cheese any more due to the evil things cheese does to me... but Kraft (and ONLY Kraft) from the box, in which I used slightly more butter and slightly less milk than the recipe recommended.

    Mmmmmm, want.

  2. They are entirely different things, and picking one is impossible. One is comfort food for those days when you get home at 9pm from a 13-hour workday and need to eat something warm and soothing and low effort. (And yes, oatmeal is another option.) (And Annie's is better than Kraft, but it isn't fluorescent.)

    The other is a triumph to good ingredients and careful planning (most especially talking someone else into washing the dishes), meant to share with good friends and good conversation.

    So, despite the similarity of name, these are two disparate foodstuffs, meant to fill disparate needs.

    Same for pizza. Proper homemade pizza with sauce simmered for hours, on crust kneaded by hand (or KitchenAid) and risen in a warm spot, topped with high-quality cheese and meat and fresh veggies... (making myself hungry; hold on while I find a towel for the drool). Completely different level of planning from getting Papa John's to deliver when too busy or exhausted to manage real food. They're both "pizza", but really not the same thing at all.

  3. Yeah, I call foul on the whole question.

  4. I must admit that whenever I taste "gourmet" mac & cheese in a restaurant, I always think there's something slightly wrong with it...to pale in color, to sharp in taste. Just, somehow wrong.

    Guess what. I also really like this stuff. (Best eaten two packages at a time.)

  5. Oh, and don't your dare threaten me with exclusion from the zombie apocalypse shelter. I'm a floor warden. You haven't got a chance without me!

    rationsh = a generous daily portion of grog.

  6. The Kraft stuff is made of teh Evil unless you're 12 (or just act like it).

    Mac-n-Cheese should be made either:

    A) In the crock pot for 8 hours with a combination of mild cheddar and colby jack, along with evaporated milk and plenty of coarse ground pepper;


    B) in a cast iron skillet, THEN put in the oven for the final phase with bread crumbs on top if you don't have 8 hours.

  7. Blue box eaten right out of the pot. But more often than not Stoeffers frozen Microwave Mac n Cheese. Hey no dishes after that. Bring on the zombies!

  8. None of the above.

    I can live without mac & cheese.

    1) Ate too much of the box stuff when I was broke & couldn't afford anything else (I also don't much like canned tuna)

    2) If I'm going to spend hours in the kitchen, it'll be for something I really love, rather than something I meh about.

    nexita = "Ask your doctor or pharmacist about Nexita! Not recommend for air breathers or water drinkers. May cause a warp in the space time continuum."

  9. A lot of you people are going to end up out in the cold, cold wasteland with the zombies. Just saying.

    Maybe you can fight them off with your little wooden spoon.

  10. But how can you say that - I'm right!

    Besides, if we're all busy fighting zombies, there won't be time for making anything other than infinitely storable orange powder. Not to mention the stored fuel costs of one vs the other.

    Although if the survivors did invest the time and resources in a big pan of the good stuff, we might be able to entice the zombies away from brains. At least temporarily...

    parsta: appropriate word for this topic, said with a drawl.

  11. What? Absolutely no contest. Kraft, and none of those Spongebob or Scooby-Doo shapes.
    Boil water. Add a touch of oil. Add macaroni. 6.75 minutes later, remove, drain, add butter, "cheese", milk. Stir. Bing.

  12. See? Pws understands the nature of the question - he/she even remembered to add a touch of oil to the water to keep the starchy foam from boiling over.

    I'll bet pws can handle a shotgun too...

    Phiala, perhaps you can protect your brains by wearing your metal colander over your head like a helmet. Run, Phiala, run!

  13. Woo hoo! I'm in the shelter. Even though I misspelled binge.
    Where's my shotgun?

  14. Kraft mac and chiz! It's the Chiiziest!

    Actually, you only use half or 2/3 of the macaroni so that you get a higher proportion of the neon cheese sauce. If you use all of the macaroni, you must add a couple slices of some kind of extra sharp cheese-food product. FOR GOD SAKE, not real cheese - it doesn't melt all creamily unless you baby it along.

    Damnit! Now I want some homemade broccoli/cheese soup - yes, made with fresh broccoli and real cheese. But, I digest.

    grailogy -- the complete movie set by Monty Python.

  15. Hey! You need a colander for both kinds. Although if you do it just right you can microwave the kraft kind in exactly the correct volume of water and not have to drain anything.

    What? I lived in a dorm for 4 years. You learn this stuff. Now that I think of it, living in a college dorm is very good preparation for a zombie apocalypse.

    satia: what you are after a big bowl of mac & cheese, either kind.

  16. "but I digest"

    I just snorted coffee out one of my nostrils.

  17. You don’t need 5 different types of damned cheese for the good stuff, just a really sharp Vermont cheddar, should be sharp enough to curl your toes, the crumbly kind that they can’t slice worth a damned at the deli. The wine is for drinking during the process. Oh, yes, and the roux must be made with bacon fat, a good smoky bacon fat. I mean, come on, you can bread and fry this stuff the next day, nirvana.

    On the other hand, I buy the Kraft stuff by the case at Sam’s.
    And I come with my own shot gun and sword.
    And all my own ammo (the sword doesn’t need any).

  18. Everything I know about mac-n-cheese, I learned from watching Bobby Flay.

    tegat = In England, mobsters' guns are loaded with tea. Only way to get a license from the Nanny State.

  19. Clearly, the blue box wins. (Is there some other kind of Mac-N-Cheese?) I agree with pws- the weird shapes don't taste right. Lately, I've been making mine with buttermilk to add to the tanginess.

  20. Elbow macaroni cooked (yes, with a little oil) then covered with Campbell's condensed cheddar cheese soup (do not dilute -- straight from the can). Add a dash or Worcestershire sauce, and you're good to go.

    Or Annie's Deluxe Mac 'n cheese. If it involves more than one pot or more than one kind of cheese, I want nothing to do with it.

    ovectsho = nickname for Alex Ovechkin?

  21. Valveeta? You remember you said that when the zombies come, Chris.

  22. Velveeta is not food. It is a plastic. I doubt its digestibility.

    I'm a homemade mac n cheese gal - but it doesn't have to be four cheeses, one or two is fine. Gruyere is awfully good. :)

    Annie's is ok among the packaged box set. Kraft is a little too fluorescent and gummy - and I haven't had it since I started avoiding MSG. I'd have to read the label...

  23. I've only had the Kraft. Easy Mac version; I throw in a packet of tuna. (Yes, I'm in my 40s and make a decent income; I actually like it.)

    However, I am open to new things, so if this is an invitation, I'm more than happy to try the first.

  24. Blue Box - the 'Family Size' classic one - the noodle/sauce ratio is better and you don't have to slice a stick of margarine, just use a whole one. It can be made with one hand, drained with the lid on through the drain hole since Phiala will be wearing the colander, and eaten right out of the pot.

    raintra - mumbling for rain...

  25. Actually, though the Spartan house brand is chalkier, it mixes up much easier than the Kraft blue box. Best to make it 2 or 3 boxes at a time, with one box being of the spiral macaroni variety for best cohesion.

    We used to cook the macaroni part in a big pot used to make popcorn, so it was a self-oiling pot. (grin) But we haven't made popcorn in a long time.

    Kraft used to sell the dry yellow cheese stuff in blue tubes and you could make your own -- we had a recipe which used some cottage cheese and Tamari soy sauce as the base for the yellow granules.

    When I was living alone and sometimes didn't have the money to buy Velveeta to make my own mac & cheese, and the box stuff was some outrageous price that wasn't 5 for a dollar, I'd sometimes use a package of cream cheese. You put enough ketchup on anything -- it's good.

    Dr. Phil

  26. Well brother o' mine, I seem to remember a Sunday dinner with your dorm-mates many, many years ago that you guys graced me with much Kraft M&C. Dorm Cuisine at it's finest...

    Lately I've been getting the creamier variety of the blue box (just finished a batch last night) because its gooier. I use Fat Free Half & Half which is even more better. Shells & cheese when they're on sale. Both are considered Southern Gourmet items.

    I do have a lovely crock-pot recipe for pot luck sharing. And had some marvelous bleu cheese mac & cheese in DC last summer.

    So, since I can survive for long periods of time on the big blue box (case in point, the last two years...) bring on the zombies. I know how to shoot a gun and can help you out in the shelter.

    PS-Don't let him fool you... Brother & I both grew up on Velveeta mac & cheese, don't think we had any other kind until we were in college.

    Thanks for the amusing lunch read!

  27. Sorry - there is no choice here. Gotta be KD. Anything else is all style and no substance.

    hosseg - reproductive output of a politician/horse's arse . . .

  28. I really go with Phiala on this.

    However, if you take two or three hot dogs, microwave them and slice them up into a pot of Kraft M & C, you've got yourself a one-pot meal!

    Marknoni - one of those weird Frenchified noodles.

  29. Grew up on the boxed stuff and loved it - until I started getting nauseous from the cheeze sauce. Then I started getting nauseous from alfredo sauce. Me and savory dairy sauces do not agree.

    If I had my druthers, though, it would be the homemade stuff. When done right, it's amazing. And recently I made homemade vegan mac 'n' cheese for the first time. You know what? It was really, really good! Except, that, well, that made me nauseous too. I just can't win with any version of mac 'n' cheese. :(

    I'm not concerned about the zombie shelter - I'll just throw the some Kraft or Velveeta mac 'n' cheese at the zombies and they'll run the other way.

  30. Mmm... Velveeta grilled "cheese" sammiches... nom.


  31. Chris G.

    I used to really like hot dogs cut up into just about anything. One of my faves was hot dogs cut up into Campbell's chicken noodle soup.

    OTOH, I used to really be 6 years old.


  32. Remember Jim,

    If you don't let me into the shelter, you get no brownies or cookies or bourbon balls or any of the other yummy things I bake.

  33. Nathan - my inner 6-year-old didn't like hot dogs in soup.

    Actually, the hot dogs in M & C came to me in college

    pretersz - Czech for pretentious

  34. Ramen. I hate mac-n-cheese.

    I also hate ramen. But I hate it slightly less than any m&c.

  35. I have been primarily eating Velveeta cheese sandwiches (or sometimes Kraft Extra Sharp slices) for most of my life. In the interests of full disclosure.

    Dr. Phil

  36. Wait until they find out about your ketsup addiction...

  37. i say the MRE MAC and Cheese you dont even have to cook it

    preddis= the name of chris hansons new show

  38. Blue box yesterday, blue box today, blue box forever. It's the ultimate security blanket. During times in my life when the greenbacks were not plentiful, I could always count on it to provide a hearty meal chock full of good childhood memories. It's also good cold the next day!

  39. In college I worked in a cheese factory.

    You want nothing to do with anything using 'processed cheese food' or similar terms.

    hindfest - what the zombies will do with the part that goes over the fence last.

  40. You big sissy, Warner - look at Jarheadjournalist there, he's eating cold MWR mac&Cheese (a thick mushy paste, usually smothered in Tabasco sauce) and he's doing it for America. The least you can do is eat a slice of processed American Cheese, Warner. Why do you hate America? Why, Warner, why?

  41. I'm sorry Jim,

    I'm with Phiala on this one, better to die truly happy then to have had to die with another bowl of Kraft M&C.

    By the way, who's to say that something in that nasty florescent orange sauce doesn't drive the zombies to wanna eat your brains in the first place? :)

  42. Blue box, only with extra noodles (they don't put in enough these days). And maybe some canned peas and onions. And you can make it with just water if needs be (hey, I was a college student once). We're in a shelter here folks, the damn fridge may not work.

    frickin' zombies, don't know how to run a generator.

    alvull - the mirror universe version of alluvial

  43. Jim

    Those of us in the Army expected the Marines to protect us while our officers figured out how to win WWII again, and we in the trenches thank them for it. However, they do have strange eating habits.

    Look, I'm a melting pot American but if hating American cheese means I hate America...

    Of course professional patriots are unlikely to ever encounter a MRE, to paraphrase Cheney, they had more important things to do.

  44. If I am hungry enough to eat Mac and cheese at all, it will be the blue box stuff... because it is faster and if i am down to mac and cheese i am near fainting from starvation.

    If an even halfway decent marinara sauce is involved though, i can eat almost anything.

    mingsoc: Society dedicated to the memory of our beloved and merciless leader.

  45. Wendy,

    Wait until they find out about the fact that you say (and spell) it "ketsup".

    The stuff is ketchup. Catsup is wrong too, but not nearly as much wrong as "ketsup" is wrong.

    ::hangs head::Oh, dear, dear Wendy.

  46. Warner eating babies is a right of passage for Marines out culture may seeming wierd to the Army or Americans or the cannibals of the congo but trust me it taste good

    unweer- the oppisite of weer

  47. What? Nathan...I mean really, you've never made a typo?!?!?!!?
    I never claimed to be a spelling genius and there is no spell check on this thing.

    Get over it. Yeesh.

  48. Blue Box. Hands down.

    Two favorite variations:

    1. Add a very light drizzle of ketchup and stir into an orangey-pink mess of salty deliciousness.

    2. Add a couple cups of frozen peas in the last few seconds of pasta cookage and add a can of solid white albacore or chunk white tuna in water (NEVER the "chunk light" or in oil kind - cat food city!) Mmmm, mac n cheese n tuna n peas!

    Rotsizel: a teeny tiny rottweiler snack made of weinerschnitzel.

  49. Trick question. Lactose intolerant.

    But, if I ate it, I could repel the zombies with my effluence. Just don't keep me in the bunker with you.

  50. oh no the invasion has begun look



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