Friday, December 10, 2004

On Livening Up KD

Purists, of course, are going to cringe at the thought, but it's time to admit a truth: Kraft Dinner has officially become a "comfort food."

It's a no-brainer of course. KD (and its grocery-store equivalents) are cheap, filling and (thank to our knowledge of carbohydrates) somewhat nutritious. They bring back memories of college, of a man's first apartment and his first outing on his own, when he didn't know too much about cooking apart from how to boil water. (Which is definitely enough knowledge for making KD.)

And since the boomers grew up with the "convenience-food" era of the 50s and 60s, is it any wonder that KD is a "comfort food" now?

I still eat KD about once a month or so, when the back account is low and I haven't thought about a new recipe to try. Its virtue is in its simplicity; its directions are quick and its yield is soothing to the stomach. (Incidentally, I've found that you can get away with 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine, as opposed to a quarter-cup.)

For an urbanite coming home after a long commute, KD's simplicity in preparation sounds like a very good (not to mention cheap) idea.

But I've never been able to eat KD "as is." I've always indulged in a few tricks to make it a bit more livelier to the palate:

1) One green onion, end trimmed and finely chopped, added to KD at the same time as the cheese powder. This does wonders to the savoriness of the sauce.

2) Two hot dogs, sliced into rounds, added with the macaroni to the water and boiled at the same time. Meat adds a bit more protein to KD that processed cheese lacks.

3) A quarter of a can of Spam, any flavour, diced and added as above.

4) Fresh herbs, finely chopped, such as Italian parsley, added at the same time as the cheese powder.

5. A couple of medium-sized tomatoes, diced and stirred in after adding the milk.

5) Any combination of the above.

KD, as with any good pasta, is a "canvas" food; you can add almost anything and it'll be good. (I wouldn't recommend adding chocolate, though.)


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