Do you ever get into those moods where you are hungry and know you should eat but don’t now what to eat? Laziness often kicks in and the thought of making a ruckus in the kitchen just doesn’t sound like a good time. I am not a good cook by any means, so these feelings and thoughts cross my mind quite often. I have learned to discover my neighbourhood more and am finding out which places make great, quick and affordable meals.
Within the last 2-3 years, I have developed a liking for macaroni and cheese. As I am in my early 30s, one could argue that am a late bloomer in the food selection category. All I remember growing up about mac and cheese was the thick, orange powder that was mixed into a pot of noodles and then was served up like it was the 8th wonder of the world. Even in my undergraduate days, my roommate and I used to love splitting a box of KD. I would love eating bowls of plain noodles and she would double up on the cheese powder.
Today I can never say no to a well done baked macaroni and cheese serving. Women can relate to this: when I am on my monthly cycle, sometimes our food cravings are so specific. And often times for me, it is wanting a good bowl of Mac and cheese.
What Makes a Great Bowl?
Kraft Foods started mass producing boxed versions of Mac and cheese in 1937 and it has become a household item (Wikipedia.com). It’s intent was to be a quick and easy meal, which it certainly has achieved. Remember that BareNaked Ladies song, “If I had a Million Dollars?” There is a line in there that says, “if I had a million dollars, we wouldn’t eat Kraft Dinner (But we would eat Kraft Dinner of course. We would just eat more)”.
Everyone has their noodle preference for pasta dishes. For Mac and cheese, I prefer a small noodle in either a spiral shape or a shell. I don’t think I have ever seen it made with a long noodle.
As for the cheese element, there is such thing as too much cheese. Some chefs try to get really fancy and mix 3, 4 or even 5 kinds together, making the dish too rich. This can be overwhelming I finds. Two to 3 kinds maximum is my preference.
Have you ever tried baked macaroni and cheese? This is very good! It adds texture to the dish. Once you break through that top layer, the cheese and noodles are usually the perfect creamy consistency.
Mac and cheese has become one my favourite comfort foods now.
Who Serves Great Mac and Cheese?
I wouldn’t call myself a good connoisseur, but have had quite a few bowls of mac and cheese around the city of Toronto and beyond. Here are some of my favourites:
- The Three Speed located at 1163 Bloor St W
- Brazenhead located at 165 East Liberty St
- Thompson Diner located at 550 Wellington St W
- Parts and Labour located at 1566 Queen St W
- Tennessy Willems located in Ottawa at 1082 Wellington St W
The next time you see macaroni and cheese on a menu, give it a try! Ask for it in an appetizer size if you don’t want it for an entire meal ;). Please leave other restaurant suggestions to try Mac and cheese in the comments below.
**Photography by Goran Petkovski