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Macaroni added to cheese = ?

A pressing matter of culinary terminology was raised by black_faery. What phrase do you use to refer to a dish of cheesy macaroni?

Where are you from, and how should a dish made of macaroni + cheese be referred to? Please read through all the options.

From the U.S., Macaroni and cheese
From the UK, Macaroni and cheese
From Canada, Macaroni and cheese
From anywhere else, Macaroni and cheese
From the U.S., Macaroni cheese
From the UK, Macaroni cheese
From Canada, Macaroni cheese
From anywhere else, Macaroni cheese
From the U.S., Mac n' cheese
From the UK, Mac n' cheese
From Canada, Mac n' cheese
From anywhere else, Mac n' cheese
From Canada, Kraft Dinner
From anywhere other than Canada, Kraft Dinner

Which of the following options come to mind when you see the phrase "Mac n' cheese"?

Cheesy macaroni
A cheeseburger

Stove top or oven baked?

Stove top
Oven baked

Breadcrumbs on top?


I already know that "Macaroni cheese" is a Britishism used at least sometimes, but I'm curious as to how widespread it really is.


( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
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Feb. 2nd, 2007 01:48 pm (UTC)
The last two answers could go either way for me; when I succumb to the evil of Kraft Dinner, I cook it on a stovetop, but I also make a "special" (non-Kraft Dinner, in other words) oven-baked, crumb-topped, mac and cheese a few times a year.
Feb. 2nd, 2007 01:50 pm (UTC)
Kraft Dinner and Mac'N'Cheese are one and the same to me, and only refer to the stuff that comes in a box with the radioactive orange powder. They can refer to no-name brands of same but the essential product is not 'real' food.

Anything else, like the macaroni and cheese casserole my mother made, or the 'macaroni cheese' available in some restaurants, is 'macaroni and cheese'. It can have tomato sauce in it, it can have breadcrumbs or potato chips (crisps) or cracker crumbs on top, it can be baked or stovetop.

I'm not sure where the 'Batchelor's' stuff that comes in a bag fits into this.
Feb. 2nd, 2007 02:46 pm (UTC)
I wasn't familiar with the Batchelor's brand "Pasta 'n' Sauce" range. Interesting it should be called "pasta 'n' sauce" when it isn't "mac 'n' cheese" in that line, but Macaroni cheese.
(no subject) - moon_custafer - Feb. 3rd, 2007 05:38 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 2nd, 2007 01:51 pm (UTC)
I did not hear the term "macaroni cheese" before coming to England. My first encounter with the format was when shevek's mother made something she called "Spaghetti cheese", which really ought to have been "Spaghetti with cheese sauce", as they were not even mixed together.
Feb. 2nd, 2007 02:12 pm (UTC)
I also use 'mac n cheese' but specifically to refer to the boxed variety. (which, having children, does appear at the house on occasion, although all in the house agree, even mean jean, that my home made is better)
Feb. 2nd, 2007 02:40 pm (UTC)
Interesting... Is "Mac n' cheese" used in bright cheery letters on the boxes as their main label?
Feb. 2nd, 2007 02:21 pm (UTC)
For some reason, I occasionally crave the stuff that comes in a can. It's very strange. It doesn't even taste of cheese.
Feb. 2nd, 2007 02:48 pm (UTC)
For the same reason, "real" macaroni in cheese is no substitute when what I crave is insta-cheese-powder-from-box stuff.
Feb. 2nd, 2007 02:32 pm (UTC)
For me, Kraft Dinner is the box of cheese powder and noodles that is cooked on the stovetop, and nothing else. Macaroni and cheese involves actual cheese, and is baked in the oven. They are quite distinct!
Feb. 2nd, 2007 02:39 pm (UTC)
It is never possible to make a poll nuanced enough! Perhaps a follow-up is required.

Are you happy generically referring to any cheese power+noodles boxed product generically as Kraft Dinner, or are you a stickler for brand?
(no subject) - curtana - Feb. 2nd, 2007 02:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_d_medievalist - Feb. 3rd, 2007 04:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tammabanana - Feb. 2nd, 2007 03:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 2nd, 2007 02:47 pm (UTC)
I too would have thought the sauce would modify the main substance.
(no subject) - m31andy - Feb. 2nd, 2007 03:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - owlfish - Feb. 2nd, 2007 03:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - m31andy - Feb. 2nd, 2007 06:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - owlfish - Feb. 3rd, 2007 12:08 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - a_d_medievalist - Feb. 3rd, 2007 04:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 2nd, 2007 02:59 pm (UTC)
Macaroni cheese = cheese sauce (flour, milk, butter, grated strong cheddar), and a cooked tubular pasta (ie, penne, macaroni). The construct is the same as cauliflower cheese, as an example. :-)
Feb. 2nd, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC)
Oh yes, and then it goes under the grill for about five minutes with grated cheese on top.

Can also include sweetcorn, or blanched tomatoes.
(no subject) - owlfish - Feb. 3rd, 2007 12:09 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 2nd, 2007 03:24 pm (UTC)
If I'm making it from scratch, I bake it ...
Feb. 2nd, 2007 04:09 pm (UTC)
The last two answers were a bit difficult--when I was growing up, my Mom would sometimes make Stouffer's macaroni and cheese in the oven, never with breadcrumbs on top. I never ate KD until I was in college and, well, found it to be gross. I do have a great oven-baked recipe from scratch that I sometimes make. Also, D. and I have discovered that the Trader Joe's stovetop brand is OK, and I'm a big sucker for Annie's Peace Pasta (I love the parmesan!) We don't have breadcrumbs on top, but we ought to, that sounds good!
Feb. 2nd, 2007 05:46 pm (UTC)
I cannot fathom the practice of putting something crunchy atop macaroni and cheese. It disrupts the smooth creamy flow of the cheesy pasta. But then, I am very sensitive to texture changes in my food.

At any rate, the ideal macaroni and cheese, for me, is made by my father in a pot on the stove. It involves a large quantity of cooked macaroni with a pat of butter in the bottom of the pot, slices of -white- American cheese (none of that foul orange stuff) broken up into the noodles and slowly melted over low heat, with more and more cheese gradually added until it's all melted and a little bit thick, then pouring in milk until it achieves the perfect creamy consistency.

This is the comfort food of my childhood and what I usually ask for on my birthday with either fish-sticks and green peas or meat-loaf.

Sebastien has also made some truly wicked dishes of macaroni and cheese over the years, usually involving vast quantities of cream and fancier cheeses.

I also make it with butter, cheddar/jack or mozzarella/parmesan mix and milk.

I have never baked mac n' cheese in the oven in my life and the Smith mac n' cheese was always a severe disappointment, floury, chalky and with those damn breadcrumbs on top to be scraped off.
Feb. 2nd, 2007 05:52 pm (UTC)
I forgot about the box stuff. I do enjoy the occasional meal of boxed mac n' cheese and I do tend to think of that as "mac n' cheese" as opposed to "macaroni and cheese" though I use both terms for the above-described Papa Kelleher recipe.

Macaroni and cheese is my catchall term, mac n' cheese used fondly still refers to my father's and is also more specifically used for the boxed noodles with powdered cheese.

I will sometimes be hit out of nowhere with a craving for the boxed stuff but when I indulge it, invariably it does not taste as good as when we were preparing it over a hot plate at Smith or in a mod at Hampshire.

My children are both terribly fond of my dad's version and I make it often in a pasta primavera variant with mixed vegetables cooked in with the pasta before adding the cheese.
Feb. 2nd, 2007 07:04 pm (UTC)
I make both stove-top and oven-baked varieties of macaroni and cheese, but I chose stove top because that's been my preference as of late. Also, I tend to mix breadcrumbs in, rather than leaving them on top. (That's how my husband likes it!) In addition to saving time, not baking it leaves me with a creamer sauce, I find.

I consider "mac n' cheese" an acceptable term, but I rarely use it to describe homemade macaroni and cheese; to me, it indicates a boxed variety.
Feb. 2nd, 2007 08:35 pm (UTC)
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Feb. 3rd, 2007 11:14 pm (UTC)
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(no subject) - strange_complex - Feb. 4th, 2007 02:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 2nd, 2007 11:34 pm (UTC)
I've only ever encountered "macaroni and cheese" in American writing. And of course you cook it in the oven, else what's the point? It's just plain pasta in a cheese sauce otherwise.
Feb. 3rd, 2007 02:29 am (UTC)
I'm with curtana in that "Kraft Dinner" is an entity in and of itself and is no more synonymous with macaroni and cheese than McDonald's is with hamburgers. Kraft Dinner is perfectly fine if you want gummy pasta with extruded bright orange cheese product (it's great on camping trips), and it is, of course, the student's friend. True macaroni and cheese should be baked in the oven, with or without crunchy bits on top, and may have tomato slices on top as well.
Feb. 3rd, 2007 11:16 pm (UTC)
Although I blame McDonald's for all those people who think "cheeseburger" when they hear "Mac n' cheese"....

I too like tomato slices on my macaroni! A fine addition.
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( 35 comments — Leave a comment )