2008 Comeback Stories: Mac & cheese is gooey hot

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This post is part of our series on people, places and things that have found new life in 2008.

The lowly macaroni & cheese is back. Once the scourge of grade-schoolers everywhere who knew, when they saw the tall, thin Kraft box, that mommy had given up on the idea of nutrition, the dish has been transformed into everything from one-handed snacks to elaborate boutique restaurant mainstays.

The resurrection is best illustrated by its heights and depths. The heights could be Sarita's Mac & Cheese Restaurant on E. 12th in New York City, devoted solely to cheesy goodness. S'Mac serves 10 varieties of the dish, from traditional to Cajun. The restaurant has been covered on Oprah, a sure sign that it and the dish are hot, hot, hot.

The depth could be the dish's appearance on the Sonic Drive-in menu, a deep-fried version perfect for one-handed eating while inching along the L.A. freeways.

Of course, as the dish has risen in esteem, upscale restaurants are experimenting with new concoctions to surprise the tastes buds of the gourmet crowd. Madeleine Bistro in Tarzana CA., for example, manages to offer what is reported to be delicious vegan (??) mac & cheese.

With the rebirth of this dish, is there hope for sloppy joes, cole-slaw jello and Necco wafers? I sure hope not.

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