Is 'mac and cheese' still 'mac and cheese' if the cheese isn't melted? A brief investigation.
Photo via Twitter user coolstoryjanis
Macaroni and cheese is a pretty simple and straightforward dish, defined by Merriam-Webster as "a dish of macaroni in a cheese sauce." A sauce, by definition, is a "condiment," a "relish," especially a "fluid dressing or topping." And so on. We could do this all day.
So imagine the horror of one office worker, who tweets under the name "Jan Levinson," when she chanced upon a coworker's attempt at this rather puzzling dish of ostensibly room temperature pasta-and-shredded-cheese masquerading as the dish we all know and love as "macaroni and cheese." Her tweet of the dish, which she posted Thursday morning, has since gone viral. Have a glance at those mean metrics, climbing as I write this.
"I'm so offended," she wrote in response to her original tweet of the photograph. "She literally poured cooked macaroni into a pot & put shredded cheese on top with not an ounce of seasoning."
It's certainly an alarming picture: a hulking bowl of pallid pasta, colorless and blanched of flavor, decorated with sprinkles of cellulose-dusted shredded cheese. Many onlookers felt this infraction demanded formal scolding.
I feel for this unnamed coworker, her unfortunate and cosmetically unpleasant attempt at comfort food now the internet's punching bag. Still, calling this dish macaroni and cheese is quite a stretch.
"Well, I guess technically that tweet can be described as macaroni and cheese," chef Michael Ferraro wrote MUNCHIES over email on Friday when asked whether this dish constitutes macaroni and cheese. Ferraro is the proprietor of Manhattan's macbar, a restaurant devoted to iterating on macaroni and cheese's simple calculus of ingredients. "It is definitely the saddest example I've ever seen, though."
"First of all, no. You can't put a maraschino cherry in a cup of bathtub gin and call it a cocktail," Erin Wade, owner of Oakland's macaroni and cheese eatery Homeroom, told MUNCHIES. "Macaroni and cheese needs to be hot, creamy, melty, and gooey. This is none of those things. For the love of all that is good, melt your cheese."
The record has been set straight. Melt your cheese, people.