Friday, December 03, 2004

My Macaroni and Cheese Thesis

Mmm mmm mmm. There is nothing like a big dinner with the fam where there's the candied yams, pineapple glazed ham, potato salad., and if you're lucky, chicken gizzards.

What's wrong, doesn't sound familiar. Well, that could be because these are the some of the ingredients from a black family's dinner minus one essential dish. Macaroni and cheese.
You see, macaroni and cheese is a dish that is a staple of the black family Big Dinner diet. It's even pronounced differently than white people pronounce it.
White Man: Can you please pass me the mac and cheese?
Black Man: Can you please pass me the macaroni and cheese?
Old Black Man: Let me get some of dat mac-da-roni and cheese!

You see that? Note the subtle difference between the White Man and the Black Man. "mac and cheese". "macaroni and cheese". To the White Man, macaroni and cheese is just a side dish. A mere starch added to your baked chicken and vegetable medley. But for Blacks, its an entrée. Its an entrée de jour especially when Aunt Sissy who's lived in hood for the past 20 years in her tiny yet immaculate house with the plastic chair covers in the living room fixes it. When you see and smell that baby come out the oven, your first reaction is to look at your cousin Tay and say simultaneously "Awwwwwww, shit!"

Now, let us examine the obvious and subtle differences between White People macaroni and cheese and Black People macaroni and cheese.

White People
Texture: Soupy, has to be served with a large spoon
Color: Almost white. Hmmm...white, white there a connection?
Cheese: Velvetta. Damn, is Velveta really cheese?
Weight: Heavy. High water content
Family Reaction: **grateful smiles**

Black People
Texture: Thick. Casserole-like. Might have to cut if the right cheese is used
Color: Light, golden brown
Cheese: Extra-sharp cheddar. American Welfare if you're lucky
Weight: Heavy. High cheese content
Family Reaction: "awwwwww, shit!"

But wait! There's more!
Now you may ask me "Brother Kojak, why is this so?" I would respond "Well, my little White Friend, it's like this..."

"During slavery, Blacks had to take what they were given from the master. That meant chicken gizzards, chicken feet, chitterlings, fish heads, and that vine fruit that grows prolifically in the Southern summer heat, watermelon. The slaves became creative and made these dishes cultural delicacies.
After slavery...well, WAY after slavery, Blacks began to have more means than before, but still lacked the exposure to White American culture. So, some dishes were wild variations of origin White dishes. One of these dishes was macaroni and cheese. Poor Blacks were receiving foods from the government based on income. Now, one of those foods was a block of "American" cheese that was only a foot long, but weighed about 300 lbs. You couldn't slice it for sandwiches; nobody could afford a kitchen knife that sharp. You couldn't use it for grilled cheese sandwiches, by the time the cheese would melt the bread would be blacker than my ass. So, its best use was to cut it as best as you could, and throw it in the oven for macaroni and cheese entrée. Voila. Black People Macaroni and Cheese."

And you might ask me "Brother Kojak, Kwanzaa is coming up. I want to have some of the Black holiday experience. How can I, a white person make Black People Macaroni and Cheese?"
And I would say to you "Well, my White Dance-Floor-Impaired friend, **except for you Mami** I'm going to tell you right now..."

Black People Macaroni and Cheese

1/2 box of Mueller's elbow noodles
2.5 cups of milk (and not that soy or rice shit either!)
1 lb. of extra-sharp cheddar cheese, chunked (sorry, Reagan squashed the welfare cheese blocks a long time ago)
4 tablespoon of butter or margarine
1 egg (optional)

Pour milk (and not that soy or rice shit either!) into a pot. I forget the specific name, the big one with the handle. Add the noodles to the milk. Bring the milk to a slight boil and stir periodically. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. If you wish to make your mac-da-roni and cheese so thick you gotta cut that bitch, then take your egg and crack it into a bowl. Wisk it heavily, or until it's almost foamy. Let sit until needed.
After about 10 minutes, turn off heat. Grab a 9 x 7 baking dish and place noodles into the dish. Now, here is the trick., the more milk that's added to the pan, the more you fade away from the recipe. Leave enough milk so that there is maybe a sixteenth of an inch worth of milk on the bottom of the pan. Pour the cheese over the noodles. If you wish to use the egg, pour the egg over the mixture and stir all together. Spread the mixture out so that it is evenly distributed in the bowl. Place the pan in the oven and let cook for about 35 minutes or until the top is a slight golden brown. Enjoy. And if you don't say "Awwww, shit!" After that first bite, you did something wrong."

Oh! And to be fair, I'll give you the recipe for White People Macaroni and Cheese.

1 box of Kraft macaroni and cheese.

Follow the directions on the box. Enjoy.


WebmasterMama said...

Having growing up in an all-white, racist little town, I can, without a doubt, say my grandma made mac n cheese that was NOT in a box and that was baked in an oven, and was a main course. That's what I grew up on. Now, I'll take it out of a box since I'm lazy, but still... don't go and make me fill out a post about some general black people stuff that's different than whites and make it sound like ALL black people. :P

Anonymous said...

OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU KILLLLLLLLED me with this one!!! LMFBO!!!!!!!!!! (laughing my freaking butt off!)

I SOOOOO remember that block of gub-ment cheese!! Loved it!!! (did y'all have the powdered milk and eggs, too?) And I know ALL ABOUT chicken gizzards!! Yummy!!!!! WE used to FIGHT over them thangz!!! They are EXCELLENT when fried. Hmm hmm hmmph!!!!

Oh, and by the way, I'm not Black - I'm Puerto Rican! I've never had that good Black Family mac-da-roni and cheese though. I may try that recipe one day - so thanks for posting it!! Yummy!!!

Anonymous said...

By the way...the last comment was by me again - TH

Caramel Cutie said...

Damn BooBoo, you had me laughing my ass off while reading this blog. You brought back some memories with that government cheese..whew!