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Mac and Cheese Surprise

I told someone last night I didn't really like mac and cheese. When her jaw was lifted from the floor, she said "we grew up on it, how can't you like it." I then floored her again, with "I had never had it until about five years ago (I'm 42). I said, I don't really like it unless it's from KFC and I prefer it cold, haha.

Anything anyone else went years before having that is considered a childhood staple?

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  1. I was in a similar boat with the Mac and Cheese. Probably never had it until in my 20's. Never even liked it until sometime in my 30's. Never really enjoyed pizza much as a kid either. Love it now, though!

    Not sure Chinese is a childhood staple, but never had that until in my 20's either.

    Hated (still do) PB&J as a kid, so didn't have that much. Lots of other sandwiches, tho.

    13 Replies
    1. re: jbsiegel

      JBS, can I assume you're not a NYers from the pizza comment?

      I've been eating Chinese (standard takeout and exotic) since I can remember.

      It's funny. I hate PB&J, but love straight PB

      1. re: jhopp217

        NJ...I can't explain the pizza thing! And...I'm right there with you on the PB. Mix it with anything other than jelly (or straight from the jar), and I'm good!

        1. re: jhopp217

          One more I just thought of...no bagels until probably college.

          1. re: jbsiegel

            Wait....I apologize for this assumption, but how's someone named Siegel go 18 years bagel-less?

              1. re: jbsiegel

                me too --- circa 1982 ---- i have never known of a bagel -- it was exotic "ethnic" (with due respect) food

                in the pac nw we had SAGA "food services" at our college/university and therefore we all lived on cereal and bagels (so healthy, i'm paying for that to this day)

                1. re: Georgia Strait

                  I think a bagel might have been one of the first things I've ever eaten...c. 1970

                2. re: jbsiegel

                  I don't know that I had a real, fresh bagel until college - my parents always had the frozen Lenders' for their evening snack. they're decent but...

                  1. re: jujuthomas

                    I've eaten my share of bagels, but to this day I don't know that I've tasted the creme de la creme.

                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                      you're just gonna have to keep trying them until you find that perfect ultimate one! :)

                      1. re: jujuthomas

                        Dirty work, but I spose somebody's gotta do it.

            1. I didn't grow up in an American household, so a lot of what my friends here consider staples: mac and cheese, penne ala vodka or even a grilled steak, are foods I didn't try until I was much older. I've had lots of Hungarian goulash, but have yet to try the macaroni and mincemeat dish most Americans tend to call goulash. As a child, I also hated peanut butter, just like jbsiegel. But I got over my aversion in college when I tried to allocate my meager resources between cheap protein and cheap beer.

              6 Replies
              1. re: JungMann

                >>>>But I got over my aversion in college when I tried to allocate my meager resources between cheap protein and cheap beer<<<< Love It

                I have had a few classic Hungarian dishes...made by my mother (which was praised by a native Hungarian). Don't remember if it was goulash, but it was great.

                1. re: JungMann

                  I also grew up in a Hungarian household but my mom had an adventurous spirit so we always tried new things.

                  1. re: JungMann

                    There's one -- I've never had vodka sauce, though I wouldn't really have considered it a standard thing. I hear it's good. Does it really taste different?

                    1. re: juster

                      I love a good vodka sauce, but basically it's a light tomato sauce with some cream. The vodka adds some body supposedly, but wouldn't know...haven't had it without. I am very picky about my vodka sauce...has to have slices or chunks of proscuitto in it or it's not vodka sauce to me.

                      1. re: jhopp217

                        The vodka theoretically should not add body or much of a taste, however every time I've had it, I swear there is the unpleasant grainy taste of cheap vodka in the background, just without the burn. Never had it with meat, though. It seems to be the safe choice crowd-pleaser for Italian-Americans on the East Coast... unless of course your crowd is vegan alcoholics.

                      2. re: juster

                        It isn't a standard on the level of mac and cheese or a grilled cheese sandwich. I'm with you there.

                    2. Cream cheese and olive sandwiches, liverwurst and tunafish with relish sandwiches were all favorites of my childhood friends==never touched my lips until I was well into my college years.

                      Mac and cheese on the other hand was a constant and variations abound. My favorite burger topping happens to be mac and cheese.

                      Another childhood staple was the English muffin pizza in the toaster oven. Ever try that, jhopp217?

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: HillJ

                        I have, and they're great! Not a childhood food, tho. I didn't discover those until I was in my late 20's.

                        1. re: HillJ

                          I didn't like Olives until later in life and I cry about it. we lived near the best middle eastern store and they had the best olives...I lost out

                          Mac and Cheese as a burger topping. Never dreamt of it.

                          EM Pizza...of course. My friend puts ketchup and cheese on it and calls it pizza. That to me is gross

                          1. re: jhopp217

                            Yeah, I didn't get into olives--so to speak--until I was probably in my thirties.

                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                              I just ate one for the shame of both of us, haha

                          2. re: HillJ

                            My mother would make English muffin pizzas for an occasional Saturday lunch treat when we were young - diced salami, american cheese and Heinz chili sauce sprinkled with green can parmesan cheese, broiled until bubbly. I need to make one of those again and see if it still tastes as good as I remember....

                              1. re: Terrie H.

                                I do that now, but it's with pesto sauce, mozzarella and grilled chicken

                              2. re: HillJ

                                English muffin tuna melt in the toaster oven...YUM!

                                1. re: jbsiegel

                                  Oh heavens yes, gotta be Jarlsberg swiss tho...

                                    1. re: jbsiegel

                                      Now we're talking. I remember a friend invited me over for lunch and made that...his wife...at the time about 30 had never had one. Now it's her favorite

                                  1. My Mother made the very best mac n cheese. She made it from scratch and there was no recipe (of course not aaaaah!) as she said she just "threw cheese in, etc.". Yum!!!! We were allowed to have anything we wanted for dinner on our b-days and I would always have hot dogs and mac n cheese!

                                    1. We grew up eating - among many other things - grilled peanut butter sandwiches.

                                      I'm always surprised how many people have never had them - whether you like them or not is different I guess - but never having them surprises me only because we had them all the time especially in the winter.

                                      For those of you who have never had them - essentially "grilled cheese sandwich" but with PB instead of cheese (so buttered bread - griddled until toasted). I like them better with bananas now that I am older but we never had them that way as kids (unlike Elvis).

                                      21 Replies
                                      1. re: thimes

                                        thimes, I have never heard of a grilled PB sandwich until your post, but it is now on my "must try" list! I love PB toast when the PB gets all melty so I'm sure I'd like a grilled PB even more. :)

                                        1. re: jujuthomas

                                          well I hope you do and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

                                          I like the sliced bananas in them now as an adult only because now I find the hot melted PB a bit too "sticky" in my mouth now as an adult and the banana helps with that - but that is exactly why I loved them as a kid.

                                          1. re: thimes

                                            Such a comforting sandwich, thimes. Here's what my brothers did:

                                            Spread marshmallow cream or FLUFF on one sliced and toast it a few secs in the broiler. Then, spread creamy PB on the other slice. Slap together and grill it.

                                            1. re: HillJ

                                              You just reminded me that I didn't even try marshmallow fluff until I was an adult. They did not sell it down in Florida when I was a kid.

                                              1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                I honestly don't know if I've ever had it.

                                              2. re: HillJ

                                                FLUFF - while I"m sure I've had it at some point . . . I can honestly say I don't have any concrete memory of ever eating it. I've heard it is great with PB too. Maybe I'll have to try that one.

                                                1. re: thimes

                                                  I do adore a PB and Fluff sandwich. Altho I'm not sure my 40-ish metabolism could handle it the way my much younger self did!

                                                  I went to the kitchen @ lunch to make grilled peanut butter since I'm working @ home today... TRAGEDY... I'm out of bread! oh, the humanity! lol. Will have to wait until the weekend now. :)

                                                  1. re: thimes

                                                    I've never had it either. I think we have it in Canada these days but I don't believe it was around when I was growing up. I would like to try it. I wonder about broiling it in my toaster oven, does it get toasty like marshmallows?

                                                    1. re: julesrules

                                                      Sure does and very quickly under the broiler so leave space over the heating element and keep an eye on it.

                                                      1. re: julesrules

                                                        We definitely have Fluff in Canada. It's been around as long as I can remember (I'm 38). It will get toast under a broiler. I've made "s'mores" that way often :)

                                                        1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                          Also 38 :) Maybe it just wasn't popular with my set... there wasn't a whole lot of junk food around my or my friends' houses growing up... with certain exceptions ie. Kraft Dinner!

                                                    2. re: HillJ

                                                      I never had till I was an adult:
                                                      Marshmallow cream
                                                      Lobster
                                                      Olive oil
                                                      Fresh garlic
                                                      Capers
                                                      Lamb
                                                      French Onion soup

                                                      And I've still never had a Fluffernutter sandwich!

                                                      (My sons grew up on all of these, but they've still never had a Fluffernutter either)

                                                      1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                        +1 on the Fluffernutter! Never had Nutella either.

                                                        1. re: jbsiegel

                                                          Fluffernutter and Nutella are both cheer me up foods in our home.

                                                          Even with 4 adult-children...a loaf of my whole wheat bread, jarred or homemade mallow, jarred or homemade Nutella and a big jar of PB (creamy) and we can figure out ANY challenge.

                                                      2. re: thimes

                                                        OMD. I am so trying this asap. I have been into PB and banana since I was a kid, but I've never heard or thought of it being grilled. Genius.

                                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                            apparently my sister has had grilled PB & J and never told me about it!

                                                      3. re: thimes

                                                        Grilled Peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwiches are the single greatest indulgence known to man.

                                                        1. re: thimes

                                                          Grilled peanut butter sandwiches are delicious. Even better when spread on top with jelly or preserves.