-Three to four cups of elbow macaroni
-Sixteen ounces of sharp cheddar cheese
-A stick of butter
-Can of Evaporated Milk
-Tablespoon of salt
-One casserole dish
-A large pot
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Boil a large pot of water and place a tablespoon of salt in the mix
3. When the water begins to boil, put three to four cups of elbow macaroni in the pot.
4. Boil the macaroni until it is tender (you need to taste-test the macaroni to make sure it's good-to-go)
5. Butter a casserole dish.
6. Put the macaroni in the buttered casserole dish, then dice a stick of unsalted butter over the macaroni.
7. Add a cain of evaporated milk to the dish.
8. Grate eight ounces of sharp cheddar cheese over the macaroni
9. Put the dish into the oven for five to ten minutes until the cheese melts.
10. Take the dish out of the oven and stir the melted cheese
11. Grate another eight ounces of sharp cheddar cheese over the dish.
12. Place back into the oven for five to ten minutes until the cheese is melted
13. Take out of the oven and stir the dish.
14. Place the dish back into the oven for fifteen to twenty minutes until the top becomes a crisp brown.
The brand of butter I made my macaroni with is Land O'Lakes unsalted butter, which contains only sweet cream, natural flavoring, and milk. The elbow macaroni is San Giorio and contains only pasta. The evaporated milk is Carnation brand, and is simply dehydrated milk. The sharp cheddar cheese is America's Choice, which is unspecified whether it is HMO free, so I can only assume it isn't. This means that half of the ingredients in my dish are whole foods, while the other half are artificially produced.
There's roughly 522.5 (see below for how I concluded this) calories per every two ounces, which means that it's a pretty hefty meal. Your body will react different to this meal depending on your activity level. I can eat a pound a day of this stuff and be totally fine, while someone else might feel super sick after eating only a few ounces. Because it's pretty hefty in both fat in carbohydrates, a lot of what you intake from this meal is going to be stored for later use as either glycogen (for the carbs) or as fat (for the bulk calories from the cheese.)
The cheese and the milk were both processed, which means they were commercially developed. Processed foods like these can possibly come from across the country, which means there was a lot of gas used and C02 emissions emitted from where it was produced to my fridge at home. The same could be said for the pasta and butter though, since they were not produced in a farm out in Lancaster.
Since half of the ingredients in this dish are non-whole foods, it costs just under ten dollars to produce 32 ounces of macaroni. Compared to Wendy's dollar menu though, you could get a lot more ounces of food with that ten dollars. For example, at Wendy's you could get a Double Stack burger for a dollar, which has 158 grams (roughly 5.58 ounces). If someone bought six of them, they would have 33.48 ounces of food, and would still have four dollars left over to buy four four small frostys (298g or 10.51 ounces per frostys.) There's a lot of quantity in buying that sort of meal, but not a lot of quality nutrition, like there is in my macaroni.
Land O'Lakes butter is from Arden Hills, Minnesota, which means it could have arrived to Philadelphia by one of two ways - Plane (probably not), or a truck (probably). This butter then traveled 1,166 miles to get to Philadelphia, which is pretty far for butter. Someone had to drive 1,166 miles to Philadelphia, then back to Arden Hills to do this delivery, which is a lot of mileage to do for a driver. In addition to encouraging poor treatment of truck drivers by supporting Land O'Lakes, I am not supporting local businesses by buying from Land O'Lakes. This is something for me to consider next time I am in the diary aisle buying ingredients to make macaroni.
I'm not a nutritionist, so I am not entirely sure of the accuracy of my conclusion:
Since I put three to four ounces of macaroni in the dish, we can assume there's anywhere between 24 to 32 ounces in the dish. For the sake of simplicity, we are going to say there is 32 ounces in the dish. Since there's 16 ounces of sharp cheddar in the dish, we could assume there's a ratio of 2:1 ounces of macaroni to shedder. We used a whole butter stick in our dish (on top and below the macaroni), which means there's assumedly 3200 calories of butter in the dish. There's two servings in a can of evaporated milk, which means there's 80 calories in total. For two ounces of my macaroni then, we could say there's 210 calories from the macaroni, 200 from the butter, 110 from the cheese, and 2.5 from the evaporated milk, which means there's 522.5 every two ounces. It's a pretty hefty meal then, which explains why I really like to eat it to carb up.
I think there are a lot of problems with our country’s food system, such as the convenience of unhealthy food, and the affordability of healthy food. Though these are very serious issues against our country’s health, I believe the larger issue is our government’s involvement in the agricultural industry. As a nation we have always found pride in our freedom in business. As our nation’s population has increased though, companies have been pressed to feed more mouthes than ever before without increasing production costs. In order to do this, companies are putting cheap and filling GMOS on the market, which consumors by because it's cheaper than organic. I believe the government should put in place bills that force these companies to produce organic foods instead. I don’t believe the government would do that though, because the effects would be devastating to our economy.
I think my role in the food system is to support and advocate for organic foods. I would do so by purchasing only organically grown products, and encouraging others to be conscious about what they put into their bodies. In order to actively do that though, I would have to start eating organically. I really don’t like grocery shopping and I have a love-hate relationship with cooking (I like making the recipe, though I hate finding all of the ingredients), which makes it difficult for me to eat organic. A first-step for me could be to start eating salad, considering that is pretty easy to make. I think it is in my best interest to go organic, because a lot of the runners I know have done so and are running faster times than ever. With that as a motivator, I think I could go organic, starting with baby steps.