Mariner's Shrimp & Mac

Here are some foods I love:

Macaroni cheese (this is what macaroni and cheese is called here in the UK and I love it)

Here are some things I can now say with surety that I do not like in combination:

Macaroni Cheese

But here we are, and it wouldn’t be The Recipe Box Project if every recipe was a winner. I made this Mariner’s Mac during Lent, because even though we don’t change our diet, I still remember my mom’s stories about eating fish every Friday, so I figured Lent was as good of a time as any to make this dish. But then it was so terrible I’ve just been putting off the inevitable post about it because I just don’t really know what to tell you about this.

To begin with, I should note that, for some reason, macaroni cheese in a box is almost impossible to find in Scotland. Neither of the grocery stores in my neighbourhood carry it, and neither does the one near my office. I couldn’t muster up the energy or desire to ruin a batch of homemade macaroni cheese by turning it into Mariner’s Mac, so I opted for a family-size macaroni cheese from the refrigerator section as my base… but it was from Waitrose—the fanciest grocer in Edinburgh—so it was still a little gourmet.

Also, the recipe doesn’t say what kind of olives should be used, so I went with pitted kalamatas. This was a mistake, though not as big of a mistake as this entire dish turned out to be. The worst part was that it’s impossible to eat around all the nonsense that goes into this dish, because the onions (which are raw for added shudders) are minced so small they’re invisible under the cheese sauce.

I am, however, starting to have a theory that the advent of all the boxed foods that appeared in the 1950s and 1960s are responsible for these weird ‘casseroles’ in a way I didn’t expect. I mean, if you were a housewife in the 1950s, and you had only ever tasted food made from scratch, wouldn't the taste of boxed macaroni just disgust you (not to mention feeling absolutely too easy-- like calling for a takeaway)? So how do you fix the taste of processed foods as a home cook (and how do you convince housewives to buy your product, if you're a brand like Kraft)?

You make up inane recipes to prove how 'versatile' your products are, and if you're a cook, you 'dress up' your easy boxed meals to make them seem more costly, unique, time-consuming, and fancy. At least, that's how I justify the existence of this recipe, and if you have a better idea, than I'm all ears.

The verdict:

1 spoon out of five. I feel I should at least deign to give this recipe a single spoon, since Judson and I managed to eat the shrimp and macaroni cheese and leave behind the majority of the olives and other random ingredients. But I really like both shrimp and macaroni, and it was still an unholy effort to get through an entire bowlful of this recipe. I don't recommend it-- at all.

one year ago: Easter Bread

The recipe:

Mariner's Shrimp & Mac

the directions:

Prepare macaroni as directed on package.
Stir in shrimp, sour cream, olives, pimento, and onion.
Stir well and reheat throughout before serving. 

the ingredients:

1 box (or prepared refrigerated version) macaroni cheese
1 c shrimp, cooked
¾ c sour cream
¼ c olives, pitted and sliced
2 tbsp sweet red pepper or pimento, chopped
1 tbsp onion, chopped finely