IN DEFENSE OF PROCESSED CRAP

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A sea of sunny yellow / Mac ‘n cheese making fun of side dish raw, macerated kale

Here is how I normally prepare mac ‘n cheese: Take one box of Velveeta with shells (the kind that comes with a silver pouch of liquid cheese). Boil approximately three quarters of the pasta until al dente and drain, reserving the remaining pasta to make macaroni art with some hot glue and construction paper. Mix the cooked pasta with the entire contents of the cheese pouch and consume until orange goo starts coming out of your pores. 

I am unashamedly in love with Velveeta. I prefer it vastly to just about all other mac ‘n cheese. Most restaurants serve forgettable versions with mushy pasta, tasteless milky goop, and unnecessary ingredients like breadcrumbs, truffle oil, or lobster (to name only a few). I loathe this trend of ruining very adult foods by dumbing them down with childhood nostalgia (see also: whipped cream vodka, marshmallows with sea salt). The worst is when cooks lazily try to imitate the original using “artisanal” ingredients that cost much, much more at Whole Foods. If I want my cheese to gel I’ll leave it to the wizards at Kraft, because I’m certainly not investing in a mystical powder called iota carageenan.

The impossibility of perfecting the already perfect is why I am never going to make mac ‘n cheese from scratch again. Even copious amounts of sharp cheddar and Piedmontese gorgonzola didn’t result in a better product here. It wasn’t awful, but it couldn’t match the creamy smooth texture of my beloved pasteurized prepared cheese product. Next time, instead of scouring the fancy cheese counter at the market, I’m headed straight for the shoebox sized block of toxic waste and melting it with glee.

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