When I was a kid, one of my most favorite things to eat was Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in the dark blue box. You cooked the macaroni, added some milk and margarine and the little packet of powdered ‘cheese’and voila! Add a little salt and lots of pepper and it was delicious. (Still is, if I’m being honest.) My dad never wanted to believe that I loved the stuff so much, I mean… it only cost 49 cents for the whole box! He tried to convince me that the more expensive box, the ‘creamier’ version with the little package of cheez-whiz-like-stuff, must be better. I’d have none of it.
There’s probably nothing better than homemade mac and cheese, and the way my mom made it was delicicous, but dad could never quite master the recipe, for whatever reason. So I guess that’s partly why I liked the stuff in the box so well. Dad would try to dress it up with hot dogs or canned tomatoes, to make it seem more like something ‘worth’ eating, but no amount of improvisation beat the stuff straight out of the box for me.
Well! I found a recipe that I love. It’s simple enough, but grown up with Gruyere cheese and extra-sharp cheddar, nearly a pound of cheese, and a quart of whole milk. Yummy! I add some vine-ripened tomatoes on top with fresh bread crumbs and it’s sinfully delicious, but certainly not low-fat. But, who cares, right? Comfort food, pure and simple. Plus, the recipe makes enough for a week’s worth of lunches.
Any favorites from your childhood? SpaghettiOs? Cinnamon toast? Hamburger Helper? Have you managed to improve upon them as a grown-up?