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Well, I finally DID IT for the first time!

Of course I’d been thinking about it for a long time. I wanted to think I wasn’t affected by peer pressure, but I knew that most of you were old hands at it. Maybe even laughed at me behind my BACK! Many have mentioned that their mothers approved and showed them how; and most said that they even did it EVERY DAY at university. So about a year ago I got what was necessary, but just couldn’t get my courage up. Finally last night everything seemed just right. The ANTICIPATION and getting ready and all were really nice. My partner was surprised and happy. But then … it just wasn’t what I’d come to expect. Not that pleasurable, kind of FLAT. I don’t know if I really enjoyed it or not. And this morning my partner didn’t say anything at all about it before leaving early! Maybe it’s just ME; or maybe I didn’t do it right. I don’t know; and don’t know what all the fuss is about. Yep, I made boxed macaroni and cheese for my five year old daughter and me for the first time last night!

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    1. Was it the original Kraft Mac n' Cheese?
      See pic:

      6 Replies
      1. re: madgreek

        No. Can't get that here. How much does a box cost in the US?

        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          Depends on the area of course but I think it's about 49 cents where I live for a box.

          Your first time is never the best. You have to figure out what makes it work for you. :)

          1. re: rockandroller1

            Yep. 49 cents. Sorry I can't offer a different perspective as far as price, Sam, but it's fitting that rockandroller answered for me, since we only live about 50 miles apart.

            Honestly, I think that brand makes a big difference here. For me, it's either the kraft (nostalgia reasons), or Annie's organic shells and white cheddar (organic, and readily available). Both are tasty IMHO.

            My kids insist on at least one of the above, and I rarely oblige them unless I'm really pressed for time and/or am short on ingredients to make a proper meal. If so, it's much more often the Annie's brand.

            My mom on the other hand, can't say no to them...so it's easy mac...yuck

            1. re: madgreek

              Highly concur with the brands! Not so much difference in the pasta. But there's a big difference in the cheese powder. My mom used to get Kraft and make it with margarine and milk when I was a kid. Back then, you could get it on sale for 4 boxes a dollar. Have no clue how much they are right now in NYC -- but probably a bit more than 49 cents. Then she started economizing and started buying the store brand and using water instead of margarine and milk. Yuck! Thank goodness they started their health kick!

          2. re: Sam Fujisaka

            In the part of Toronto I live in, it's $1.29 a box!

          3. re: madgreek

            You mean Kraft Dinner, right??



          4. Some things you only have to do once to know they're not for you. Like the time ... ah, never mind.

            3 Replies
            1. re: alanbarnes

              Hey I thought that went well except for the whole Crisco fiasco???

              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                Nah, the live chicken and the jumper cables were just too much.

                1. re: alanbarnes

                  Maybe you put the jumper cables in the wrong place. One cable for each leg, see, vous plais.

            2. LOL! Its because even the boxed stuff needs heavy cream, real butter, and a dash of grated nutmeg!

              11 Replies
              1. re: LaLa

                Hmmph! So why not just do it from scratch? About a minute more prep time and some time in the oven. Better and cheaper to boot (a pack of M & C, not even Kraft, costs a couple of bucks here).

                  1. re: LaLa

                    I know; but others on other threads have mentioned that boxed is good if good ingredients are added.

                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      Well...they can be. You just cook the noodles, make a cheese bechamel sauce, toss the day glo cheese in the trash,...

                      More importantly, what did your daughter think? The first time my son had it at a friend's house, he said,"Oh, this tastes so chemically. Can I have more?" I think it's just as fast and easy to make up home made mac and cheese than to use the box, either the cheese bechamel, or Alton Brown/CI's version w/ the eggs and evaporated milk. But I will say I remember loving Kraft mac and cheese cold out of the refrigerator with my fingers.

                      1. re: chowser

                        chowser, that was the brilliant part. Dana Zsofia ate but wasn't really impressed. A few weeks ago she had and now insists on my giving her nori with her rice; and on Saturday she declared she wants lentils (prepared with dried African game meat) and rice on a more regular basis.

                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                          You're doing a great job raising a chowhound, Sam.:-)

                  2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    We spent 3+ months in Rio last year where they sell about four types of Campbell soup (cream of mushroom being the big seller) and it goes for almost US$5!

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Exactly! A can of Campbell's cream of mushroom is about US$6.00 here.

                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                        If I had to pay more than 50 cents for a box, I don't think M&C would tempt me. BUT it's quick, you can eat it from the pot and wash up later, and once I've had 'dinner' from a box I'm freshly inspired to cook real food!

                        A few words of advice: 1) White powder good, blaze orange powder less so. Or don't use the whole packet. 2) Lots of freshly ground black pepper. 3) HOT SAUCE!! Especially with the orange powder. 4) Very nice paired with a cheap dry red. Enjoy!

                    2. hey sam . . . .
                      you're not the only one who feels like that.

                      i wasn't raised with that kind of thing, but my partner loves it, so i made it a couple of weeks ago. i had to find out if it was as great as everyone says.

                      it didn't do much for me either, though. maybe it's an acquired taste?

                      1. Sam, I loved reading that. lol

                        I don't like the boxed mac and cheese, no matter what brand. My son always requests it for his birthday or any time I allow him to plan a meal. I can't stand the texture of the stuff!

                        1. Oh Sam, poor Sam... You are forever sullied!

                          How did your daughter like it? Oh... And read the ingredients on the side panel of the box. Back to the real thing, fella!

                          1. Sam, we are all familiar with a "pcc" after doing "it" (post-coition cigarette), but did you puff a victorious "pm&cc"?

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Veggo

                              I'm just glad I just finally got it over with and that there wasn't even that much of a mess to clean up afterwards. But walking down the street I feel like people are looking at a big blue tatoo on my forehead that says "m&c".

                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                Wear it like a badge of honor, like you have just been " freshly fettucinied".

                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                  Didn't you have some stains on your pants after all that?

                                  1. re: Scargod

                                    Reminds me of one of Richard Gere's better lines, a bit paraphrased: "no, don't shower, I want us both to smell like we been eatin' mac & cheese".

                              2. Well Sam, you finally bit the noodle. After your second time you should learn that there is no such thing as bad boxed macaroni and cheese! ;)

                                1. Sam, are you sure you weren't just having a dream or fantasizing? Some times when you go without for so long... I would have wanted the real thing.

                                  1. By golly, I knew that guinea pig I saw had wings!

                                    Cheesy bechamel, made with some gruyere and cheddar and a bunch of crumbled up chorizo and baked with a coating of panko and parmesan on top. It really doesn't take much to do. And I'll guarantee good comments.

                                    BTW, how much is nori, and Japanese food down there, generally speaking - is it cheaper or more than here?

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: applehome

                                      A packet of nori is about $15 - 20. Cal Rose is sold in 500 gram packets for $4 -$6. I bring Japanese foods back with me from the US: nori, wakame, toasted sesame oil, California rice (but have to eat it slowly here), canned smoked eel, hondashi, Japanese and Chinese pickled vegetables, aburage, soba, Kikoman, and more; as well as dried maize husks, dried chiles, MasaHarina / Masaseca. I bring Oaxaca cheese and fresh tortillas from Mexico. Luckily I work in DC a bit but somewhat regularly over the past few years and try to buy stuff in the Asian stores out in the suburbs. There were several years in which I worked now and then in East Timor and had to bring things back from there - the stores in Dili had a lot to serve the UN peacekeeping force. Prior to that I lived in Asia. My suitcase goes out half full, comes back stuffed with food; although recently also with stuff for my daughter.

                                      Luckily, Cali has an abundance of high quality fruit and vegetables for very reasonable prices.

                                    2. Sam!!! <reaching out and pinching your cheek> You are so cute!!! Reading that was a great start to my day.

                                      1. There is hope for everyone and everything, jfood's brother in the bizarro parallel universe.

                                        jfood also did something this weekend that would surprise you as well. He ate chicken that he thought was onthe edge. So it must have been a solar eclipse that hit both Columbia and CT.

                                        BTW - he survived

                                        1. so. I'm the only boxed mac and cheese virgin left?

                                          9 Replies
                                          1. re: purple goddess

                                            It was forced upon me at a tender age, long before Deliverance. Two score later but violated and unchaste, I find the m&c at Berns in Tampa, with fontina and truffle oil, is addictive. As Marvin and Tammi sang it, "ain't nothin like the real thing".

                                              1. re: jfood

                                                We're the last left standing jfood.

                                                Maybe we could sell our macjinity in ebay and make our fortune.

                                                or would that be pastatution?

                                                There's a joke in here about jinity and boxes, too.. just can't quite make the connection ;)

                                              2. re: purple goddess

                                                I can't remember the last time I got any, or, had any.

                                                BTW, I had some amazing french fries that were cooked in truffle infused oil. Dusted with fine parsley and something akin to parmesan, they were heavenly.
                                                I guess I am going to have to try mac and cheese. It just makes me think of kid's junk food. Now it just makes me think of sex....

                                                1. re: purple goddess

                                                  AFRAID NOT,my mother was a dreadful cook (my grandmother had a great cook).She knew what good food was supposed to be and my father was a fabulous cook.This house has managed to avoid 99% of the box / mix sort of foods.

                                                  1. re: purple goddess

                                                    Nope. I am. Don't even know where to buy it. Or how much. Or if I want to.

                                                    But I'm glad Sam at least experienced it. Perhaps I'll be able to weigh my experience against his. If I ever get to do it, that is.

                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                        Then it's a date. I'll bring the cheese. Oh wait. Maybe I'd better bring the macaroni.

                                                      1. Sam, you never said whether you still respected yourself in the morning...

                                                        1. See Sam. I suggest you try this before your next attempt.

                                                          Get really, really, REALLY drunk the night before. One of those "Dear God. Just get me through this and I'll never drink again" nights.

                                                          The next day as your monumental hangover is kililng you. You eat the boxed mac and cheese. Perfect hangover food.


                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: Davwud

                                                            Did you mean cold, greasy left-over mac & cheese straight out of the pot?

                                                              1. re: Davwud

                                                                That probably grows wild just outside Sam's window where he is.

                                                          2. My best friend introduced me in high school. My parents always did say she was a bad influence. She also introduced me to liquor, cigarettes, and other more illicit substances. The mac & cheese and the cigarettes I'm proud to say I've quit.

                                                            1. Kraft mac and cheese is like Heinz ketchup, or Peeps... if you grow up eating it, it becomes a taste of childhood and the fanciest homemade mac & cheese or organic ketchup just isn't the same.

                                                              8 Replies
                                                              1. re: Pia

                                                                But you can say that about anything. Childhood memories are great, and comfort food is wonderful - but we grow, our tastes mature, we have open minds and we try new things and find better, more wonderful tastes that become our new favorites. Being stuck in the past is no way to be.

                                                                I love the scene in Ratatouille where Ego has the Confit Byaldi and it immediately evokes the ratatouiille of his youth. But the Confit Byaldi, invented by Thomas Keller, is not the ratatouille of his youth - it's a sophisticated, well thought out and prepared dish that is superior to the easy-to-make ratatouille that his mother made. And yet it evoked that memory. That's what grown up comfort food ought to be. If the memory of the Kraft blue box is in your head, maybe you can make a wonderful sophisticated "adult" version that evokes that memory, but still satisfies your adult yearnings for more complex flavors and textures.

                                                                1. re: applehome

                                                                  ...or you can just spend 49c on a box of mac n' cheese-lol. I understand what you mean, but don't find such exercises necessary. Leave my childhood alone.

                                                                  1. re: madgreek

                                                                    OK, but I go back to the argument we had before on the subject (and many times before that). These things - the simple prepared foods, chains, etc., are fine and dandy, and there's no reason to think anyone ought to be judged in any way inferior just because they like them. But they're not great news, either. Nobody needs to get on a soap box or on a foodie site and declare their love for these things as any kind of sharing of wonderful food knowledge. I don't see any difference between someone saying how much they used to love Kraft M&C and Gerber processed carrots. The answer is fine, wonderful - so what?

                                                                    But if someone says they found a way to use KM&C or Gerber baby food in a wonderful new cooking technique that turns out true deliciousness, or perhaps found something out of Adria's kitchen that tastes just like Gerber carrots, those are discoveries worthy of discussion here. Ok, maybe not the Adria's kitchen Gerber carrots...

                                                                    This thread that Sam started is making fun of the blue box - not celebrating it. It offers that there's nothing really special, delicious, about this prepared food. Now, someone says, yes, but I had it in my youth so it's special to me, well - that's nice. How's that help Sam or anybody else achieve deliciousness? It's not particularly delicious to those of us who have no childhood memory of it. Sam and I are more apt to fawn over a hot steaming bowl of rice and some umeboshi as childhood memories.

                                                                    No judgement - you're childhood is your childhood. I'm just making the statement that it isn't particularly meaningful to everybody else, and it never will be. Now - it's your turn to make fun of the rice and umeboshi -see if there is anything special you can make out of it (there is!).

                                                                    1. re: applehome

                                                                      "a way to use KM&C or Gerber baby food in a wonderful new cooking technique that turns out true deliciousness"

                                                                      There's always Mac'n'cheese Macarons and Gerber carrots and basil leaves meet the anti-grill.

                                                                        1. re: applehome

                                                                          AH, I sense you are still teething...there are wonderful pharmaceuticals for that...

                                                                      1. re: applehome

                                                                        Well, that was sort of my point -- it's NOT special or delicious unless you have that childhood memory. But if you do have the memory, then it can't really be replaced by any special or wonderful cooking technique. Kraft in the blue box is really like a separate species of food from homemade mac&cheese. And, just like my college roommate who grew up in Singapore could never appreciate Wham!, I think Kraft m&c is pretty unappetizing if it wasn't a regular childhood food.

                                                                  2. re: Pia

                                                                    I grew up eating the stuff but once I got our of university, my taste for it vanished rapidly.

                                                                    If I had to eat boxed m&c now, it would be a white cheddar variety. Loblaw's (grocery chain here) used to have a nice version, but it's been years since I even had that.

                                                                    I ate caterpillars as a child too, but I don't feel compelled to repeat the experience. :)

                                                                  3. Yea, those are gross, after eating them once it made me hate them forever and ever...

                                                                    That is, until I fell in love with Alton Brown and he showed me how good they can be. Now I love them <3! As long as they are made the proper way. With non-powder cheese and whatnot, shocking I know.

                                                                    1. Well, Sam, now that you've lost your virginity, there are other things you can do with the stuff that comes in the box. Assuming you're using the really cheap kind. Take out the powdered cheese packet and sprinkle a little over freshly made popcorn. In the right proportions, it can be interesting.

                                                                      EDIT: Sprinkle and toss the cheese first, THEN the melted butter. Do it the other way around and you'll end up with blobs of cheese powder. Not a pretty thing!

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                        And don't forget the chipotle powder!

                                                                      2. Hysterical! I do love reading your posts, Sam.
                                                                        Perhaps you should serve it with ketchup next time. That was that way I loved it as a kid.

                                                                        1. You are one gifted wordsmith Sam. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard while reading a chowhound thread. Thank you!

                                                                          I have a four year old daughter who, try as I might, is not a budding hound; she does however prefer her mac 'n cheese from scratch rather than the big blue box that was so much a part of my childhood. If you try it again a classic variation would be to mix in some hot dog chunks and top with ketchup. My Mom would strongly deny that I was raised on the stuff. ;)