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The Mac-and-Cheese Manual
If it doesn't coagulate in the very act of being consumed, its a fake! If you dont get your money back grab the pitchforks and torches and dispense some good old-fashioned rough mac-and-cheese justice! Hangins too good for em! - photo by Promixluvr, via wikimedia commons

There’s only one true way to eat mac-and-cheese, and that’s with your bare hands, slavering over every creamy mouthful like a wolf pup. However, since some persnickety people look down on such earthy behavior, we shall humor their overparticular sensibilities and advise our readers to use a fork.

You would think that everyone knows how to appreciate mac-and-cheese, but we're sorry to say that over the years we have run across some egregious behaviors that must not be repeated again if we are to remain civilized. Here, then, is a brief compendium of mac-and-cheese Do’s and Don’ts:

- Never mix tuna fish into it.

- Never pour gravy over it; that is gilding the lily to a criminal degree.

- Take a tranquilizer before serving it to children; they have a recessive gene, that disappears as an adult, which forces them, willy nilly, to pat the mac-and-cheese into their hair and inhale some up their nostrils and just generally turn themselves into orange zombies. They outgrow this tendency eventually, but it can hold on until their mid-thirties.

- Don’t serve it cold.

- A crusty topping for it made from crushed potato chips is okay, but not highly recommended. It’s like giving Santa Claus angel wings – isn’t he good enough already?

If you’re going to mix in pepperoni, don’t stint. Or, as Greta Garbo said in her first talkie role: “Don’t be stingy, baby!”

- Serve it in a heavy ceramic bowl. Anything served in plastic containers is highly suspect, and rightfully so. Should you attempt to palm off a microwave mac-and-cheese on any self-respecting friend or family member you should expect no mercy.

- Because the world is going to Hades in a hand basket (as my old granny used to say), we will allow boxed mixes of mac-and-cheese to be served. But it was not always so. There was a time, when phones were rotary and cars had fins on them, when a good mac-and-cheese was served en casserole, straight from the oven, bubbling over with a robust aroma and bounteous melted cheese.

- Don’t ask for a calorie count; you’ll be frog marched out to the nearest brick wall and shot at sunrise.

- Accept no substitutes. We know there are a million and one different kinds of pasta nowadays, but if your mac-and-cheese is made with rotini or fusilli it ain’t mac-and-cheese; it’s some kind of Italian thingummy that is served in restaurants, not the American classic that brings a tear to the eye of the most cynical Yankee expat whooping it up in the dives of Bangkok.

- You’d better have a dessert to go with it, preferably hot apple pie with ice cream avalanched all over it. Anybody who eats a big bowl of mac-and-cheese and then wimps out with a single dinner mint should be put on the rack, stuck in an Iron Maiden, drawn and quartered – and then tortured!

- If it doesn’t coagulate in the very act of being consumed, it’s a fake! If you don’t get your money back grab the pitchforks and torches and dispense some good old-fashioned rough mac-and-cheese justice! Hangin’s too good for ‘em!

Tim lives in Provo, Utah. He is the proud father of eight children. A former circus clown, he currently works in social media and edits the political humor blog He can be contacted