Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Battle is Finally Over

I have to post late tonight to let you know that there is a winner. It wasn't a contest you knew about. At least not in any conscious way.

But there has been a battle for years. And finally one has triumphed.

This battle spanned decades. At least two and part of a third for me.

In my youth, it was Kraft. The ubquitous.

In college, for a brief time, there was Velveeta. No Milk needed, so microwave-only cooking was a distinct possibility. Pasta in water. Nuke. Strain. Cheese sauce. No fridge space wasted on Milk. More room for beer.

Then I got over college (and grad school, and got my papers). Really only sophmore year of college was in question. Freshman year was too much cafeteria. Junior year was living in on-campus apartment-style living. Senior year (one semester) was dorm with a kitchen (112 was mine kids).

Then there were the dark years, the time before the rebellion, when I thought there was no need for Macaroni n' Cheese unless I baked it myself.

Lemme tell ya', I was almost right. I bake a MEAN macaroni and cheese.

Really, ask Pearl.

But tonight, I stopped at the local uber-mart and got myself some Velveeta goodness.

In the world of the processed (No, Ron, not the best world), there is a clear winner.

With the parameters of processed cheese with noodles as the the challenge, and Annie's not a participant; there is one clear winner in the "What do I want to eat late at night when only fake cheese and hard little noodles will do."

And it's Velveeta. The creamier, non-milk needing racer.


Susan said...

I've got to disagree with you. I love the blue box. But to make it super-duper cheesy, I only add a dab of milk and about 2 tablespoons of butter. That way, when you mix the powdered "cheese" in, it turns a much darker color of "cheddar". Or if you're out of milk, no problem - just use a bigger dab of butter.

My younger daughter, Hope, also loves Kraft Mac & Cheese. So much so, that when we go out to eat (even in really nice places like Oak in Charleston, SC) she inquires if the macaroni & cheese on the menu is Kraft. If it's not, she ain't buying.

And another important note: Easy Mac sucks - the elbows get way past al dente and everyone knows how important it is to use al dente pasta with your fake cheese.

Heather McChesney said...

I agree with Susan! Velvetta, yet more convenient (especially for a milk hater), is a bit too thick for my personal tastes. There is nothing better than the blue box.

My childhood to adult loyalties stick with the Kraft Mac and CHEZ!

Amy said...

I'm going to vote for one not mentioned - Annie's! Didn't you eat Annie's back when we were at Laz? That's where I was introduced to its natural cheesy goodness.

I haven't tried the Velveeta mac and cheese yet. When I'm feeling nostalgic, nothing beats Kraft and its bright yellow orange cheese!

kitchengeeking said...

Oh I love the blue box too. It's a nostalgic classic.

But as I chomped on the Velveeta I realized that the blue box noodles have a 3 second window during which they are neither rocks nor mush. And the mush is quite nasty. The Velveeta shells are more forgiving.

And @Heather I have to say I am a fan of the thicker sauce on the needles.

Agreed on Easy Mac.

@Amy, I mentioned Annie's in the post, and did have some when I was S. Ralph Lazrus-ing my way through my last semester.

And I want it stated for the record that the Velveeta's nuclear orange color matched very well served on my cobalt blue Fiestaware bowl.

HeatherOsborn said...

For those who are unaware, there is a wonderful middle ground between blue box, powder cheese craft and yellow box, creamy cheese in a packet Velveeta....Kraft Deluxe! Like Velveeta, it uses creamy cheese but, in my opinion, it's not nearly as heavy or thick (per Chez's comment). And it tastes better than either of the other 2 options (both of which are tasty, don't get me wrong). It's my fave.

kitchengeeking said...

What is this 'more choices' of which you speak?

Less thick sauce? Bah.

What noodle shape am I getting for allowing Kraft to put the word "Deluxe" on the box?

Okay, I may be able to see a processed macaroni and cheese night where this gets settled. I will *grudgingly* offer to be host.

Heather McChesney said...

First of all, I'm the CHEZ and you fools are the MACARONIS! Doesn't that count for something!

Secondly, Dan, this cooking taste test...becareful. My friend Melonie and I did one of these in college. We decided to do a taste test on all of the different ways one could perfectly poach and egg. We had multiple appliances/cooking apparati/etc. We concentrated on time. Many other elements. Needless to say we went through two dozen eggs, two sticks of butter, and a loave and a half of bread. We shat out our ears for days! It probably didn't help that we were completely shitrailed when we did it.

Can you imagine what might happen if we had a MnC off?! Oye vey!

HeatherOsborn said...

Alas, plain old macaroni noodle shape. But the taste is deluxe!

Susan said...

I agree with Dan - there is a window of time when the Kraft super-skinny elbows are al dente and that window, small to begin with, like a window in a trailer, is only open a crack.

To solve this problem and to ease the guilty feelings I have when I stray from the Carb-Deprivation Torture Diet, I substitute Dreamfields elbow macaroni. That's right folks, I take the fake powdery cheese packet out of the blue box and then throw it (and those skinny noodles) in the trash.

Dreamfields, like whole wheat pasta, has a firmer texture to begin with so the al dente window is like a living room window in a charming old home on the East End, open halfway.

TheLittleCat said...

I dunno, Dan. Kraft has been rock-solid my entire life. It's hard to overcome the powdered cheese.