We Wouldn’t Have to Eat Kraft Dinner
…wait, we’ve made that 1990s musical reference before. Sorry! The Walrus has more details than you could possibly imagine. This is the only seven page article about Kraft Dinner you will ever need. Also, read The Walrus.
If you belong to Canada’s comfortable class, you probably think of the dish as a childish indulgence and a clandestine treat. The bite-sized tubular noodles are so yielding and soft, you will say a little sheepishly, and next to impossible to prepare al dente. The briny, glistening orange sauce tastes a little bit sweet and a little bit sour — at once interesting, because of the tension between the two flavour poles, but not overly challenging or unfamiliar. And its essential dairyness connects it to that most elemental of foods: a mother’s milk. KD is the ultimate nursery food, at least if you were born and raised in Canada, where making and eating cheese has been a part of the culture since Champlain brought cows from Normandy in the early 1600s — a tradition nearly as venerable as the fur trade. It may be the first dish children and un-nested students learn to make (“make,” of course, being a loose term; “assemble” may be more accurate). This only strengthens its primal attractions.
Okay, about Kraft Dinner? My dad once spent all day making homemade mac and cheese (he usually made his own pasta, but I kind of doubt he made the little macaroni kind? it did take a LONG TIME), and when my mom came home from work she was a little bit on auto-pilot, and three bites in, she said: “Hey, this is great. Did you make one box or two?”
And it was my dad’s Betty Friedan moment, I think, because he never made homemade mac and cheese again, and they’re divorced now. Hence the Kraft Dinner. But not Easy Mac, because that’s just…giving up.