Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sporadic Product Review/Brief History

So... if you don't know me, or if for some reason I haven't already made you painfully aware, you need to know I love macaroni and cheese. I sort of consider it blasphemy to speak ill of the mac. I find it annoying when people consider mac & cheese simply a side dish. It is a way of life.

I grew up eating the blue box constantly. In fact, in my faster-metabolism, track-running days, I was known to make an entire box for myself after school. If my older brother expressed interest in perhaps having a bowl, I'd gladly throw another box in the pot. But I would not ever, could not ever part with the three-and-a-half servings I was owed.

We ate a lot of Polish food in my house -- kielbasa, pierogies, sauerkraut. Once in a while, my dad would whip up some Kraft as a side to the kielbasa. Umm, no thanks, Pop. I'd have a sliver of the sausage and pile my plate high with macaroni. For some reason, I had to be sort of the Christopher Columbus of macaroni and cheese for my fam. Listen, I'm not saying I discovered mac & cheese. I'm saying I discovered it for my people. Deal with it. I haven't, as far as I'm aware, killed anyone along the way.
We do have a Praz family recipe that is a distant, perhaps Polish, relative to mac & cheese, but it involves onions and cottage cheese. Another time... 

As I got older, I got into something called "baked mac and cheese." The only times I had previously experienced it was via the Stouffer's frozen variety. That stuff is pretty good, too. Once I started working in a restaurant after school, I realized how good mac & cheese can be when it comes out of the oven. Covered in stewed tomatoes... why not? 
In college, I ate a lot of mac. In the dorms, I was mostly relegated to Easy Mac. Not terrible, but simply not enough. Make two. 
I have once or twice fallen prey to the healthy mac and cheese gimmick. 
Dear Lean Cuisine & Smart Ones,
Your mac is no good. Stop trying.

And don't try to tell me that I can fake macaroni and cheese with cauliflower. More blasphemy.

So I've had Delilah's famous mac & cheese in Philly; I've recreated Alton Brown's mac & cheese, one or two of Rachel Ray's, the crockpot mac & cheese; I've tasted gourmet mac & cheese with ingredients like lobster and truffle oil. I'm not going to say I'm an expert, but you could say it and I probably wouldn't disagree. 

So here's where I should probably digress and move on with the product review. I have made this Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Homestyle Deluxe dinner twice. Big fan. I won't go through the instructions, because any dummy can do that. I will recommend using the "oven finish" method for the optimal mac attack. It involves extra cheese and bread crumbs. I recently made this in a pinch when I didn't have enough time to defrost some meat I had bought. Then realizing John needed to have some meat with his mac (yes, he's one of those people), I cut up a couple Hebrew Nationals and served those on the side. That's right, mac & cheese for dinner with a side of hot dogs. Carrying on my dad's laziness tradition.

Out of the oven... after an attack. Don't judge me. 


escapefrombk said...

Good news...I was gonna try that homestyle stuff. Nothing says classy like mac and cheese and hot dogs. Danny is one of "those" people too who demands meat with every meal. Despite all the fancy expensive stuff I try to cook, his favorite dinner is still kraft deluxe mac and cheese mixed in with ground beef and a can of Rotel.

ducksrfriends said...

Fancy Mac and Cheese seems to be quite the bar food in Philly lately, which I am all for.
I have to say, the first time I ever saw Kraft Mac&Cheese I was confused- used to my Mom's baked kind (crushed ritz crackers on top, made with velveeta... not sayn' its any better for you than the Kraft kind, after all, Velveeta isn't really cheese, right?) the bright orange was not quite what I expected.

prototype138 said...

This reminds me to tell you about the lasagna I made on the fly. It was delicious at probably around 1000 calories per serving, lol.
I started with a layer of macaroni and cheese (I just used the Country Crock premade elbows, because I'm too lazy for prep), to which I added extra shredded cheddar. Then I put down a layer of lasagna noodles. Then a layer of pulled barbeque chicken (again, pre-bought) and another layer of lasagna noodles. Then, a layer of ricotta mixed with shredded cheese and egg followed by noodles of course. BBQ Chicken again, noodles again, then more mac n' extra cheese. On top, I added close to a whole other bag of shredded cheese (Colby Jack, I think), and then sealed the whole deal in tin foil and baked it.
This thing served Christie and I for probably 4 meals each, and it was so friggin good, especially cold.

ssHUMANs said...

wait, are you actually sharing a recipe for mac and cheese or recommending that i make the homestyle stuff (b/c it looks pretty delic)? i will have to make it when enrique isn't home- because he will judge me.

ssHUMANs said...

oh- also i have sporatic dreams about those fried mac and cheese balls that we ate in la

Kristen P - "Praz" said...

It's just a product review -- I mean, all those other recipes I mentioned are great, but doing the "oven finish" on the kraft is good enough. You add extra shredded cheese and the provided bread crumbs.

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