The Harmful Rays of the Moral Vacuum

The Harmful Rays of the Moral Vacuum
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Friday, March 19, 2010

Comfort Food

My dear wife is in California visiting family for the next few days.  As such, I am home alone for the first time in a very long time.  I am learning that while cohabitation with a female domesticates a male to a certain degree, it also dulls many of his essential survival skills.

For example, food.  I never learned any cooking skills beyond frying an egg (poorly, I might add) or boiling water.  When I lived on my own, I subsisted mainly on Stouffer's TV dinners.  The turkey one is actually quite good.  The lasagna is not bad, either.  However, I have grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle since then.  I have grown soft because I have my lovely wife's cooking to look forward to each night.  I have not had to act as a hunter-gatherer for a long time, and it shows.

When I was a child, two of my favorite foods were tuna fish sandwiches with mayo and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.  This still remains the case.  The Barenaked Ladies lyric  "If I had a million dollars, we wouldn't have to eat Kraft Dinner, but we would, we'd just eat more" resonates deeply for me.  I had a tuna sandwich for lunch today, so I can check that off the list.  I have a feeling that I'll be having a box of Mac N' Cheese in the next few days.

Kraft Mac N' Cheese actually has a somewhat interesting history.  It was introduced in 1937 in the U.S. and Canada.  World War II contributed to the product's popularity as the rationing of meat and dairy created a need for hearty, meatless entrees.

At this point, it's a legacy brand.  I know I am not the only one who feels a nostalgic pang at the sight of "the blue box."  There's just something about a foil packet of nuclear orange colored powder that spells delicious to me.  Over the years, Kraft has marked Mac N' Cheese in many different variations made to appeal to kids (for example, Ninja Turtles, spiral shaped noodles, or pre-mixed cheese sauce in a pouch), but true aficionados such as myself know that these variations suck.  The powdered sauce doesn't stick as well to noodles of shapes other than the traditional elbow.  And the noodles themselves don't take on the right consistency when cooked.  And cheese sauce in a pouch?  That's just gross and it never tastes right.

The good folks at Kraft provide plenty of recipes to fancy up your Mac N' Cheese, but I like it best the old school way.  What does it say about me that one of my favorite foods has an official website hosted by an animated dinosaur, the Cheesasarus Rex?  Hopefully that I have discerning taste.

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