Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The mac and cheese controversy

Last week, two colleagues of mine, one English one American, were discussing about macaroni and cheese.I was not paying much attention to it, but then the American one started laughing as if he had heard the strangest thing. He asked: "Really, you put mustard in your mac and cheese? Who does that?" The British one asked me to take part in the debate and I took his side. The American thought it was a very odd choice of flavoring for the dish. I did not do this when I used to make macaroni and cheese back in Québec, my recipe was with four different cheeses, taken from a book mum bought me for my first year at university. It was quite bland. I guess it was not meant to be high gastronomy. But I discovered a few recipes that do include mustard, and it gives flavor to the dish and fancies it up. With Dijon mustard, it is borderline decadent. Anybody else have mustard in mac and cheese? I wonder if it gives snobbery to the quintessential comfort food meal, but it is really good. In any case, it made for a subject of debate at work.

8 comments:

Laurie said...

yes yes, mustard of course, I'm here in Ontario Canada and our recipe has mustard in it, it adds a depth of flavour!!!!

Guillaume said...

It does add flavour.

Mantan Calaveras said...

I take macaroni and cheese VERY seriously. An essentially American dish, supposedly invented by one of our "founding fathers", a dish which was the traditional family meal for Hallowe'en in my house growing up.

I am a deft hand with the noodle and curd, and I will attest that I have ALWAYS used mustard in preparing the dish.

Namely I add mustard seeds to the boiling water, which imbues the noodles with flavor.

We also usually serve macaroni and cheese with polish sausages doused in mustard, and so there is another overlap of mustard flavor.

Sour and salty, a cherished flavor combination!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Yeah, I probably shouldn't confess this here but the only mac 'n cheese I have ever made is Kraft Dinner. No mustard but plenty of fluorescent orange powder!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i always put some mustard in my mac and cheese. it enhances the flavor but doesn't overwhelm it. you don't use very much.

Ellen in Oregon said...

I usually add about a 1/4 teap. dried Colmans' Mustard when I add the salt & pepper into the white sauce, after I remove the white sauce from the heat, but before I stir in the grated cheese. People can usually tell when I forget to add it. They don't know I added mustard, but they can tell I left something out. Dried mustard definitely adds a little something to the dish. I also find a pinch of cyanne pepper or a few squirts of hot sauce pearks up the flavor without adding a spicy heat to the dish.
I researched 100s of M&C recipes last year and found that about 1/3 American recipies do use dry mustard. The recipie that constantly gets rave reviews & most asked for recipie is the classic mac & cheese from the 1940s Fannie Farmer cookbook. It calls for more cream than most & has a longer stiring time, but got rave reviews hot out of the oven and it reheats in the microwave tasting just like the fresh baked version. Also passed the freeze & reheat test with no fat seperation or greasiness like you get with many M&C recipes.

Guillaume said...

Wow, I didn't know this post would be so popular. Thank you all for commenting
@Ellen-Thank you for showing up on my blog! And for the exhaustive information about mac and cheese. Such a simple dish, so much you made me learned about it. Where/how did you find Vraie Fiction?

Loulou said...

Moutarde!