I lost track of Cracked a couple of years ago, but I used to watch their After Hours series regularly for the laughs. In one episode, the comedians are all discussing which alternate TV-commercial universe would be best to live in, and one put forth the idea that the best choice might be the universe of “as seen on TV” products, because the people in them are incapable of functioning at even a basic level. You would be like a god there, just by being able to perform simple tasks. Then someone else pointed out how that’d be great right up until you needed a doctor. That sketch always comes to mind for me not just because it’s hilarious, but because the terrifying truth is that I’m going to live in that universe someday; the transition has already started.
Railing against millennials is a lot like shooting fish in a barrel, with a BFG and a tactical nuke, but I’m going to do it anyway. They make such easy targets, after all, because the typical millennial—I know plenty of exceptions—is an idiot. Having been indoctrinated with the idea that objective truth is not a thing, they’re so warped they don’t understand basic cause and effect. (Case in point: I had to chew out somebody today for making excuses for a supposed 16-year-old who didn’t realize ahead of time that committing actual fraud on a legal document was wrong. That happened.) The typical millennial has an abysmal work ethic, has no taste, and thinks the Power Rangers and/or Shia LaBeouf were ever cool.
Let me put it another way: Have you seen the movie Idiocracy?
What got me thinking about this today—although it’s not a new thought, for me or anyone else—was that I saw a meme posted by one of my cousins (ironically, a millennial) about how having memorized the instructions for boxed macaroni and cheese is the most impressive thing about the memer. And then I remembered: That’s actually pretty important, because these days the instructions are wrong.
As a fan of Kraft macaroni and cheese, I’ve known how to make it for a long time. But I usually prefer to make the spirals or shapes rather than the classic, because the classic macaroni makes 3 cups and that’s too much to eat in one sitting. Spirals and shapes make 2¼ cups, and that’s something I can make a meal out of. (Relax; I do it infrequently.) Several years ago, however, on those boxes they started to make a change where they switched to “healthy prep” instructions that are—if you understand the truth that fats are not evil but sugars are—a steaming pile of garbage. The classic prep, i.e. the actual correct instructions, was relegated to a small corner at the bottom.
Nowadays, the classic prep instructions have been eliminated. This is a loss to all mankind, and so like a modern day Prometheus (for you typical millennials, that’s a mythological reference, not the bad movie), I’m going to do the right thing and share my knowledge with mankind so that it is not lost forever. You’re welcome.
With regular mac & cheese, the original style in its original 3-cup box, once you boil the water and cook the pasta, you add the cheese sauce, then you add 1/4 cup each of butter/margarine (half a stick) and milk—and you never, ever use skim milk. That’s all. For any other variety, it’s the exact same recipe but it scales with the amount. A box of spirals or shapes is 2¼ cups, which is 3/4 the size of the original, so you use 3 tbsp. of each instead of 1/4 cup (4 tbsp.); except I cheat and use a full 1/4 cup of milk, because it’s creamier and I don’t have to worry about trying to eyeball it.
So that’s the classic prep. Per 3 cups of cooked pasta, it’s 4 tbsp. each of butter and milk. If the box tells you anything else, it’s lying.
Now I’m gonna drop some real knowledge. First, you should salt the water a little before cooking the pasta, because it will bring out the flavor better. Second, use whole milk for crying out loud. I only buy whole milk, because it’s creamier, the fats in it are not bad for you, and skim milk is basically just sugar water which is terrible for you; yes there’s more fat and calories, but it’s better for you and it’s more satisfying. Third, I’ve found that a little sprinkle—and I mean very little—of MSG in the final product really rounds out the flavor beautifully. Don’t buy into the myths about MSG either; it’s not poison, at least not for humans.
I’m still on a mission to figure out what my grandmother did to make macaroni and cheese so delicious. My sister’s working theory is that since she often used milk reconstituted from powder, that could be it. It’s also possible that adding a little dry milk powder to the end product would be enough to create that flavor. Eventually I need to find out.
The moral of this story is that Kraft makes bad decisions. They bowed to pressure from so-called experts to change the box instructions in favor of something worse-tasting and worse for you. Then recently they caved in to a social media campaign launched by the freaking Food Babe, as complete a moron as you will ever encounter, whose understanding of both chemistry and nutrition could make zoo animals shake their heads in sad disappointment, to remove artificial colors even though there was nothing wrong with them whatsoever. (Seriously, you should look up a guy named Myles Power and check out his videos absolutely destroying the Food Babe. They’re hilarious, and also very very sad.) But no matter what bad decisions Kraft makes, you owe it to yourself to prepare their product the way it was meant to be.