Macaroni and cheese cheese
July 27, 2006 11:28 AM   Subscribe

Freshly-made macaroni & cheese from a kit has a gritty, zesty note. But when I rewarm it the next day, that zing is lost and it just tastes like pasta and cheese. What's that lost ingredient? Is it just powdered cheese that hasn't hydrated thoroughly, or is it something else? Can I add anything in to get that back?
posted by shannymara to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
A little grated parmesan cheese works wonders.. I use it to fix things if I get soupy pasta.
posted by rolypolyman at 11:34 AM on July 27, 2006


My vote is for general time-based homogenization caused by the second law of gastrodynamics. I guess you could try adding more cheese powder or salt the next day, or only mixing in the cheese for the portion you're going to eat, and refrigerating the cooked pasta by itself.
posted by trevyn at 11:34 AM on July 27, 2006


The pasta absorbs liquid from the cheezisauce. Add a little water or milk, and some grated parmesan. Or, try it midwestern style, with ketchup. Mmmm, that's good eatin.
posted by theora55 at 11:52 AM on July 27, 2006


I hate to be a mac-and-cheese snob, but this recipe from Alton Brown is about as easy peazy as the boxed stuff, is zesty, and tastes worlds better.

It's even good the next day.
posted by SteveInMaine at 12:20 PM on July 27, 2006 [1 favorite]


When I make KD I usually add more milk to the mix than the instructions say, put the pot back on the stove, and cook everything for a bit longer, stirring constantly. The sauce thickens with time, so I guess you could say it ages well.
posted by lowlife at 12:40 PM on July 27, 2006


But when I rewarm it the next day, that zing is lost and it just tastes like pasta and cheese. What's that lost ingredient?

Not a lost ingredient, but the cheese and various proteins continuing to melt and unfold and generally break down into new chemistry. Generally, this is a good thing, such as with a sauce or stew, where the flavors become more complex. The macaroni example is pretty counter-intuitive. Probably something to do with the initial chemistry of the pre-packaged cheese mixture.

Seconding the Alton Brown recipe.
posted by frogan at 1:19 PM on July 27, 2006


I've never found that mac and cheese or creamy sauces (like alfredo) reheat very well. It seems to me like the oils start to separate and it's just never as good as it was freshly made

That Alton Brown recipe looks tasty. Is there a reason to use kosher salt instead of regular?
posted by 6550 at 2:50 PM on July 27, 2006



I swear by Lawry's seasoned salt on my mac'n'cheese-next-day. To the point where sometimes, I make a box with the express purpose of eating it as salty, delicious leftovers.
posted by inging at 3:24 PM on July 27, 2006


Is there a reason to use kosher salt instead of regular?

Kosher salt is much larger so you would need to use less regular salt. People like to cook with Kosher salt because it's easier to control and the larger crystals seem to taste better in dishes where they don't melt away.

posted by CunningLinguist at 4:51 PM on July 27, 2006


Kosher salt is much larger so you would need to use less regular salt. People like to cook with Kosher salt because it's easier to control and the larger crystals seem to taste better in dishes where they don't melt away.

More specifically, the Kosher salt crystals have a much higher surface-to-volume ratio than granules, so they melt faster and spread their goodness over a wider area. Also, they're easy to sprinkle by hand, so you get more control over the amount and the location.
posted by frogan at 9:55 AM on July 28, 2006


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