MNC


mandc

I just ate two boxes of Macaroni and Cheese. Can you believe that nastiness?

I’m not proud of it.

That’s actually bullsh*t. I’m totally proud of it.

Every single one of those sickle-cell noodles wiggled their way down my gullet until it reached a giddy tummy pool I called (and still call) the Oasis.

Mac N’ Cheese – a favorite of the majority of suave bald men since the 1920s. By ‘suave bald men,’ I mean me. And by ‘since the 1920s,’ I mean since high school, my high school. I used to come home from school, dump two boxes of the Kraft goodness into some boiling water and wait 10 minutes or so, then BOOM – cheesy foodgasm explosion. Who knows how long it lasted. Blacking out wasn’t uncommon at all. In fact, I don’t remember most of my sessions with the processed orange ambrosia.

All I know is that, then and now, it is the stuff of dreams.

I was never a fan of calling it Mac N Cheese, either. I understand how hoi polloi (yes, I’m using it) come to reach that term. I mean, I get how the epithet works, but I’m linguistically a traditionalist and, therefore am not a fan of allowing things to change in the language. I know, I know. It’s not my call. Yes, but it sort of is. I mean, I take care of my speech (for the most part). Sorry, let’s stick to the topic. My fault.

Noodles and cheese – who was it that thought of this gastronomic thing of glory? I’m baffled at how stupidly sapid this dish is.

You hear the stories of where the noodle came from and how it was invented, and how people used it during the Ottoman Empire for sexual rituals, and all that, but you never hear of how truly amazing this thing is. It’s basically bread. Bread! It’s just stretched out really long, and then rolled, dried, and voilà!

I have been a vegetarian for the past more than six months and I can tell you that the noodle is quite the sating foodstuff. It’s small, yet manifold, and is exceedingly enjoyable to insert into the mouth and masticate…fully. Mac N Cheese, although it may be American, like white people, it doesn’t have its origins here. The full history of the noodle (and many will be surprised by this), goes back to my quasi-motherland, China around 200 BC. They were masters at noodle construction and production long before any of the whities got their hands on it. It took some time, of course; and, let’s face it, they had some time (dynasties of time). But, before the world knew it, there were noodles being produced here and there and everywhere and no one was thinking twice about it. Most people think that the noodle came from Italy, but nope; Marco Polo was presented with some of the long wheat-based goodnicks during some of his explorations of the Far East. Then, he took the delights back home and one thing led to another and babies were made….then she probably woke up the next morning and put on a pot of boiling water.

Noodles are omnipresent (ubiquitous gets used so much, omnipresent is really another great word which carries the same meaning) across the globe and it’s no wonder we love them. Go to any Chinese restaurant, Italian restaurant, Spanish, German, Russian restaurant, and they all have some sort of noodle dish.

All over Asia this wonderful meal has satisfied for generations and continues to do so.

We recently had a chance to do a bit of globetrotting, and stopped in several spots in China and Taiwan to see some sights. It was noodles galore! It was like listening to Bubba Gump talk about shrimp. There were noodles with and without mean, noodles in broth, baked noodles, fried noodles, big, fat, short, long, wheat, rice, and egg noodles. It was overwhelming…in the most excellent way! Every city, every restaurant, everywhere we went did it differently. It didn’t matter where we went, there were noodles, and we were never left dissatisfied.

There’s something magical about the noodle, and I’m not just talking about Macaroni and Cheese (Americans give their own name to it, following suit with all other countries). It’s inexpensive. It’s tasty, and it’s filling. Oh, and it is always there. There’s always some sort of dish you can get if you’re craving noodles. The cheapest of course are those Cup-a-Noodle Styrofoam cups. You know the ones; you could buy 80 of them for like $8 in college. Oh yeah, those were (and still are) the tasty ones.

All I’m saying is I love the noodle. Yes, I adore Macaroni and Cheese; and feel that it will somehow always remain a part of my identity (Is that weird? Maybe I misworded that.) But just the noodle in general is a gorgeous, wondrous, sensational food.

The gods shine upon you, Noodle. You too, Mac, but mostly Noodle. You are praised by our kind and loved near and far.

Join me in some Mac N Cheese love tonight. Not real love, but in sort of a solidarity sense…and actually it’s too late now that I write this (10:59 p.m.). But, you know, some symbolic love – love of Macaroni and Cheese, or just noodles in general.

You, Noodle…you’ve made us, in an almost infinitesimal sense, who we are..and, Noodle…we salute you.

 

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