Comfort Food For Thought

If you read my post last week, you know I was a little distressed over the recent shootings in my country.  Blogging was intended to bring me a comfort in troubled times.  In hindsight, maybe I was overthinking the situation.  Maybe all I needed was comfort food.  Enter Chick-fil-A.  The popular fast-food chicken restaurant may never be forgiven for removing their awesome coleslaw from the “Sides” menu a few years back, but just this week they brought a new guest to the party.  Hello, macaroni and cheese.

Amanda Norris is Chick-fil-A’s executive director of menu and packaging.  She’s now my new best friend.  A chicken sandwich and waffle fries, with a second side of mac & cheese?  Heaven in a to-go bag, my friends.  As Amanda puts it, “Mac & cheese is the quintessential comfort food… the perfect pairing… but it’s also great on its own as a snack”.  In other words, I’ve just been given permission to drive-thru Chick-fil-A and order only mac & cheese.  I’m a kid again!

Chick-fil-A’s mac & cheese

Chick-fil-A’s mac & cheese is made with a special blend of cheddar, Parmesan, and Romano, and baked fresh every day. Uh, push the pause button here.  Three cheeses sounds a little fancy for the mac & cheese I had in mind.  If the restaurant really wanted to arrow the bullseye, they should’ve done a deal with Kraft Foods and offered the mac & cheese.  You know the one – the proud little blue-and-gold box of the “cheesiest”, with the pile of pasta curls and pouch of powdered who-knows-what?  There’s simply no equal.

Kraft introduced its “Macaroni & Cheese Dinner” in 1937 with the slogan, “Make a meal for four in nine minutes”.  Back then – the Depression years – you could buy two boxes of Kraft for a single food-rationing stamp (Make a meal for eight…!)  Fast-forward to the 1980’s, when my wife and I were managing our shoestring food budget.  At least we knew we could buy Kraft mac & cheese.  Three boxes for a dollar!

Three-cheese blend aside, I agree with Chick-fil-A.  Mac & cheese is the quintessential comfort food.  Comfort food is defined as “… providing a nostalgic or sentimental value to someone”, and “…tends to be high in calories, high in carbs, and easy to prepare”.  Well hey, you might as well just say, “Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner”!  Sure, you could turn to other comfort foods on Wikipedia’s short-list, like chicken soup, chocolate-chip cookies or grilled cheese (Tater Tots and sugary breakfast cereals didn’t make the list – for shame!), but take my money – and give me comfort – Kraft mac & cheese earns the top spot.  Just ask any Canadian; it’s the most-purchased grocery item in the country.

Recently, mac & cheese sits side-by-side with Brussels sprouts as a trendy restaurant offering, even in the fancy places.  The problem is in the spin – all those added ingredients for a supposedly better taste.  Lobster mac & cheese.  Mac & cheese pizza (topped with shredded Colby-Jack).  Mac & cheese pie (with a bready crust).  Even Kraft messed with the Original (“Star Wars-shaped” pasta?  Come on!).  Admittedly, their “Shells & Cheese Dinner” with the Velveeta cheese sauce is a pretty good option.  But it’s not the Original.

Comfort foods are further defined as “… food associated with the security of childhood. They are believed to be a great coping mechanism for rapidly soothing negative feelings.”  There it is, and that’s what I need right now.  The couple of Kraft boxes in my pantry are calling me home.

Some content sourced from Wikipedia, “the free encyclopedia”, and the foxnews.com article, “Chick-fil-A’s Mac and Cheese Hits Menus Nationwide”.

About Dave

Clearly I have something to say. This blog was born of a desire to elevate our speech, using the more eloquent words of past generations. The stories I share are life itself, and each comes with a bonus: a sometimes-forgotten word I hope you’ll go on to use more often. Read "Flying in the Face of Reason" to unearth a few mysteries linked to Denver International Airport. Read "Color of Courage" to better appreciate recipients of the Purple Heart. On the lighter side, read "Sugar Cured" to discover a creative fix for headaches. As Walt Whitman said, “That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” Here then, my verse. Welcome to "Life In A Word".
This entry was posted in America, culture, food, memories and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Comfort Food For Thought

  1. Joni says:

    Even in my poorest student days, this Canadian did not resort to eating Kraft mac and cheese, although my room-mates did. I did not realize it had been around that long, since the Depression. I think of it as a 50’s convenience food, like toaster strudel. Nothing beats homemade mac & cheese, made in the oven with mild cheddar and toasted bread crumbs on top, and my mother’s is the best. It spoiled me forever…..although I do think Stouffer’s TV dinner mac and cheese is the best of the frozen variety. I hope you are feeling better Dave.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dave says:

      Ah, another childhood staple Joni – Stouffers mac & cheese. My mother would buy it on occasion and I’m sure it was my “first”, well before Kraft. As for student days, I didn’t eat Kraft either. Store brands were even cheaper. Whatever fills the stomach when you’re on a tight budget, right?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed this. It’s time for some pasta.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dave says:

    And time for some comfort food!

    Like

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