Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
September 30, 2022

Macaroni and cheese, a college necessity

By HAYLEY BRONNER | March 10, 2016

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Mike Mozart/ CC BY 2.0 Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is sold in many shapes, like SpongeBob.

he ultimate comfort food passed down through generations and generations is the one and only macaroni and cheese. Everybody has their desired way of making it, but it gives satisfaction to all nonetheless. After a play date, after school, in the morning or at midnight, there was never a bad time to eat mac and cheese throughout our childhoods!

One of our many first foods was most likely pasta of some sort so naturally cheese-covered pasta couldn’t have been too far behind. Many of us don’t remember a time when we didn’t eat mac and cheese on a regular basis. It’s probably even more prevalent in our current diets than it was when we were young! It was a staple back in the day but is a necessity in college. What is easier to make and more delicious than cheese-covered pasta? Nothing.

There are millions of different recipes and methods for making this classic dish. From cheddar cheese to baked-with-breadcrumbs, three cheese to bacon, onion, lobster or truffle oil — the possibilities are endless. But we cannot forget which one has always been there when we are short on time and need it most: Easy Mac.

Kraft began selling macaroni with instant processed cheese as early as 1937! Throughout the Great Depression and World War II, family income was low, and meat and dairy were rationed. This hearty and inexpensive pasta meal consequently captivated the market. Value and convenience is and always has been Kraft’s main selling point for the product.

Easy Mac contains single servings of the company’s original mac and cheese. While all versions are undeniably delicious, there is absolutely no argument for this fact: The character-shaped pasta in Easy Mac tastes much better than the regular shapes. Whether it is SpongeBob, Monsters Inc., Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Star Wars, the way that the cheese gets into the shapes makes consuming this Easy Mac an undeniably spiritual experience.

Whether you are snowed in, you skipped dinner or you need a midnight snack or just a quick lunch before class, eating Easy Mac is a weekly if not daily occurrence here at Hopkins. Life is just too busy NOT to eat Easy Mac. Every time we bring the spoon (or fork!) to our mouths, we are instantly de-stressed and brought back home to our big kitchen tables.

While Easy Mac is doubtlessly delightful, nothing beats really going home to mom’s or grandma’s homemade mac and cheese. Every family has their ancient family recipe never to be shared with another. Basically any other food can be added to macaroni and cheese and it would be delicious. It can also be fried, baked or just boiled and microwaved. Everybody has their own spin to put on this classic comfort food, but even at a fancy restaurant in bustling Baltimore it always reminds us of home.

Looking back in history it could be hard for us to imagine where this dish was originally invented. While it is extremely popular in the United States and Canada today, macaroni and cheese originally came from the United Kingdom. The original recipe was first written in the fourteenth century in Old English. It was created as a baked main dish in the English cookbook Forme of Cury.

Today mac and cheese can be a side or main dish, and there is no correct way to make it. However if you are feeling particularly adventurous this summer, July 14 is America’s National Macaroni and Cheese Day. So try out as many recipes as possible to celebrate!

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