Every Canadian kid, past and present, is familiar with Kraft Dinner. Here’s an homemade version that tastes even better than the original!
I think every kid in Canada – especially those of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s – is more than familiar with the taste and smell of Kraft Dinner. My siblings and I must have had it at least once a week for lunch. We lived close enough to the school to come home for lunch, so there was no need for this instant stuff the kids eat nowadays.
In my family, there were three ways to eat Kraft Dinner. The first, which I think was the most common, was with ketchup on top. I used to eat it like that, but then I found a better way. The second way is just plain, of course. And it’s good plain; I’ve had it plain many times.
The third way – which is probably only MY way, because it might seem to be a little odd to most people – is with a slice of bread that has been buttered and smeared with strawberry jam. Oh my God, Dear Reader, the jam and the cheese is so good together. Before you screw up your nose at me, please give it a try. Just one bite, please! I think you’ll change your mind.
To be perfectly honest, it’s only the past year or so that I’ve been able to eat macaroni again. I used to love it, but then we had a babysitter from hell and the result was a complete dislike of macaroni.
I remember it so well, which is a miracle, because my memory is horrible. But, this particular day stands out so well in my mind. It was summer and our parents were going to be taking a shopping day in Barrie with their friends, George and Marilyn. We were living in Stayner at the time, which is a small town in Northern Ontario which is close to Collingwood and Wasaga Beach.
Marilyn had already arranged a babysitter for Matthew and Jonathan, so my brother and I were asked to go to their house. The babysitter’s name was Michelle. Michelle spent the whole afternoon on the couch and talking on the phone. And while she held that telephone receiver in one hand, her other hand held her back to back smoldering cigarettes.
She stopped talking long enough to make us Kraft Dinner. I was always very acutely aware of hygiene practices and I vividly remember her not washing her hands and I also remember her smoking the whole time she boiled the macaroni and stirred in the powdered cheese, butter, and milk.
And I also remember her placing bowls of Kraft Dinner in front of us before she headed back to the couch and the phone. I took one taste and spit it back into my bowl. It was salty and the macaroni was still very hard. I questioned her about it and she told me that she liked her Kraft Dinner crunchy. She didn’t offer to fix it or to prepare anything else, so we all sat there waiting for our parents to come home and rescue us.
It took me years to enjoy macaroni again. I would eat it, but I could never get quite used to the texture. In contrast to Michelle’s crunchy macaroni, I found “cooked” macaroni to be slimy on the inside. Eventually, I learned to cook macaroni myself and was able to eat it once more.
Homemade Canadian Kraft Dinner is so much better than the Kraft Dinner you buy in the box. It tastes fresher, cheesier, less processed, and just better! The homemade version is richer and allows you to modify ingredients to suit your preferences. For example, you can change the cheese – use Colby Jack, Gouda or Havarti.
But, no matter what type of cheese you use for your version of Homemade Canadian Kraft Dinner, please promise me that you’ll try it with a slice of bread that has been buttered and topped with a smear of strawberry jam. You only need to take one bite, but you simply must try it! Enjoy!
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Homemade Canadian Kraft Dinner
- 450 grams macaroni, cooked according to package instructions, drained, and set aside
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 4 cups cheddar cheese, grated
- In a large skillet, over medium heat, add the butter and heavy cream. Melt the butter into the cream.
- Add the seasoning salt, white pepper, and turmeric. Whisk into the cream and butter mixture until well incorporated.
- Next, add the cheese. Stir the cheese into the cream until fully melted.
- Add the cooked and drained pasta to the cheese and cream sauce. Toss everything together until the ingredients are well combined and the sauce is evenly distributed.
- Remove from heat. Serve immediately.
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