I do apologize for the delay between posts; however, here at The Chicago Files we’ve been cooking up some rather interesting fodder. Far be it from me to take sides while discussing the semantics of pasta products on both sides of the 49th parallel; nonetheless, I will let you be the macaroni magistrate! Are you ready? Grab a fork, folks, and let’s dig in!
The above picture sums up this post perfectly: Canadians love Kraft Dinner, and Americans love Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Wait just one minute: are these not the same substances known merely by different monikers? I am here to tell you that, yes, that is precisely the case. What happened when Kraft’s macaroni product made it North of the border? Why did Canadians turn it into its own dinner; or did they?
[picture courtesy of clker.com]
In 1903, James Lewis Kraft (of Fort Erie, Ontario), while living in Chicago, began selling cheese and processed cheese products. He won a patent in 1916 for a processing method in which cheese would obtain a longer shelf-life. Thus began the humble beginnings of Kraft Dinner, which was made known to both Canadians and Americans in 1937. The slogan announced, “Make a meal for four in nine minutes for an everyday price of 19 cents.” The box included dry pasta and a packet of dry, processed cheese (which it still does to this day). During WWII, nearly 50 million boxes were sold in the United States, as customers could obtain two boxes for one food ration stamp; quite the cheesy bargain, to say the least!
Here they are: the two tasty Kraft treats. Noticeably similar but utterly different as well. Ah, the differences; I shall share them with you. Canadians eat 55% more of the stuff each year than Americans. In fact, this “meal” is the most beloved grocery item in supermarkets across the Great White North. How’s that for K.D. camaraderie (FYI, Canadians love to call their Kraft Dinner, “K.D.”)! Alas, I could find not a single cheesy clue as to why Canadians stuck with the dinner aspect of the Kraft program, while our American friends decided to skip the dinner portion and make it a macaroni and cheese deal instead. However, I do note that in meager letters the word, “dinner” appears on the American box.
Here is a tiny taste of irony (well, at least in my world): do you recall the sweet and utter disdain Chicagoans have for putting ketchup on (*gasp*) hotdogs (please see this post for the “tomato sauce” reference: http://wp.me/p4doQv-rv). A lot of Canadians LOVE to put ketchup on their Kraft Dinner. Don’t believe me? Look:
Ah, that’s the ticket! Ketchup adorning a platter of good ‘ol K.D.
Me: “Honey, can you please pass me the ketchup?”
Hubby: “The ketchup? What for?”
Me: Tiny eye-roll: “Um, for the K.D.” (of course)!
Hubby: “The K.D.? For the what???”
Me: “Clearly, I am going to have to teach you how to speak Canuck!”
Hubby: “Yeah, just as long as you NEVER put ketchup on a Chicago hotdog!” *grin*
Me: “Yeah, I hear it’s the law here!” *matching grin*
[picture courtesy of deviantart.com]
Terrance and Phillip. These are two character’s on the show, “South Park”. Albeit not a show for the easily offended, Terrance and Phillip are the, “Canadian Content”, as it were. They love Kraft Dinner! I do take pause with one teeny-tiny note: their character’s speak with very British accents! “Kraft Dinner” sounds something like, “Terrance, do you love yaur Kroft Dinnah”? “Ahawh, haw, haw, haw!!”
Ah, we can all take a joke, though, can’t we? After all, Kroft Dinnah is anothah Canadian-Chicago treasurah!! Ahawh, haw, haw, haw!!