In my house we didn’t call it Mac ‘n Cheese but just Kraft Dinner.  And on those nights when the rest of my family was having awful things like shrimp or rice or any of the myriad of foods I didn’t eat as a child, I had my old friend Kraft Dinner.  The box was less of a billboard but still blue and I always made it with evaporated milk and margarine.  It never failed to make me happy.  Over the years, it has remained a familiar friend and though my husband does not understand the appeal, I have continued to eat it every month or two, recognizing it is a dish unto itself that bears no relationship to any culinary accomplishment that involves pasta, dairy and cheese.  Now I throw away half the elbow macaroni in the box and undercook the rest, eventually mixing the whole packet of orange cheese dust with a splash of yogurt and a teaspoon of real butter.  Well, I mixed up that childhood favorite recently, and it disappointed me.  The dayglo orange was hauntingly familiar, the extra salty flavor was something I’ve always loved.  But the chemicals, which I’m sure I should now embrace as life preserving preservatives, well they seemed to rise to the surface, and not in a good way.  I have one last box in the cabinet and when it calls to me I will try it once again.  Maybe it was the yogurt–that nod to healthy eating–that made the “cheesiest” rebel.  Next time I will stick with heavy cream, amp up the butter to a tablespoon and see what flavor develops.  I will report on the results.

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