*Love this old packaging. “The special macaroni and the grated cheese”
A little note: This post is on a topic related to pregnancy; obviously I will continue to write about such things, but please know that my brain and soul are still very much affected by infertility, and there will plenty of other posts to come that reflect this. At the very least, you can rest assured that I won’t be indulging in any annoying pregnancy memes.
I kind of only half-believe in pregnancy cravings. On the one hand, I have a friend who was lactose intolerant and when she got pregnant, she had these intense cravings for cheese — and weirdly, the intolerance suddenly disappeared and she was able to eat dairy again. That seemed legit, for some reason. On the other hand, I see women going mental for pickles and ice cream during their pregnancies, blaming it on the fetus, and I think, “Girl, that is just the same old YOU wanting those things and giving yourself an excuse to actually have them now that you’re knocked up.”
As y’all know, I’ve had zero symptoms throughout this pregnancy, starting from the moment Right On Time Blastocyst was transferred into my ute up until today, when I’m nearing the 10-week mark (we think, we hope, knock on wood, please please please please), and that includes cravings. OK fine, I recently purchased an enormous bag of sour keys, but that’s a one-off thing. Anyway, the closest I’ve come to cravings is with two particular items: Kraft Dinner, and a McDonald’s cheeseburger.
Normally, I could care less about processed cheese. It’s vile, and basically made of plastic and MSG. But a few weeks ago, someone brought a bunch of McDonald’s cheeseburgers to a dinner party (sort of as a joke, but not really) and I decided to eat half of one, just for nostalgia’s sake. My husband glared at me, as if I was effectively poisoning our unborn child and guaranteeing some sort of birth defect or behavioural disorder. I didn’t care, though — it tasted SO effing amazing. It took all of my will power not to go in for a second helping. And now, I probably think about McDonald’s cheeseburgers once every day.
Then, the KD (known in the U.S. as Kraft Macaroni and Cheese) — like most Canadians, this was one of the first “meals” I learned how to cook, and it got me through my university years. Everyone has different (and very strong) opinions on how, exactly, it should be prepared and consumed, and my personal stance is that you need to use half of the pasta in the box but ALL of the cheese. Or rather, “cheese”. By doing so, it’s basically like eating a bowl of hot, gooey Cheetos (win!). Always use both milk AND butter to melt it. And then eat half of it just as it is, then the other half slathered in ketchup. Most importantly, never substitute with white cheddar KD, microwaveable KD or imitation KD.
Anyway, once again, this admittedly disgusting product hadn’t entered my mind for years, but then I started reading all these articles about Michael Moss’s new book, Salt Sugar Fat. He explains how companies like Kraft created processed foods decades ago with semi-decent intentions — usually to cut costs or help women prepare their meals faster, to free up more time for other pursuits (like, you know, careers). But using cheaper ingredients meant the stuff would taste gross unless they added tons of extra salt, sugar or fat. It got out of control, and now North Americans are so addicted to these specific flavours that any attempt to lessen the amount of crap in a product almost always fails.
You’d think I would read about all this and say to myself, “I’m so glad we don’t eat any processed foods now — thank god I gave up on KD years ago!” But instead, all I can think is, “Mmmmm…. Kraft Dinner…..” And, like, I think this thought ALL THE TIME.
Are these two horrible items, of all things, really going to turn into legitimate pregnancy cravings?! You would think that, as someone who consumed two glasses of wine each night with dinner, I might be missing alcohol. Or craving something more mainstream, like chocolate. Nope. It seems the girl who can usually be found baking kale chips or making quinoa salads is no longer. I’m too busy battling with my inner Honey Boo Boo. Or at least my inner 19-year-old. ANYONE HAVE ADVICE? PLEASE?
Footnote: I’m currently searching for someone to make a special pilgrimage with me to Illinois, to witness this holiest of holy structures. Please let me know if you’re that someone.