Every fast food restaurant advertises their “crunchy fries”, fried chicken must be crispy, an apple only worth eating if its crisp. The difference between a potato chip and a pedestrian potato slice? Crunch.
So I’ve declared this week “crunchy week”, especially after coming across this article by cognitive scientist John Allen who hypothesizes that our love of crunchy and crispy may come from our ancestors’ taste for insects:
“A quick survey of the diets of primates (see Chapter 2) reveals that many of them eat bugs quite enthusiastically. In fact, the original primates living some 50 million years ago may have been predominantly insect-eaters. Given this insectivorous primate heritage and the fact that the practice of eating insects is quite widespread among humans, there is likely no basis for an innate aversion to eating insects—quite the opposite, in fact. Do we as a species eat insects because many of them are crispy? Or do we like crispy foods because crispy insects were a food of choice among our ancestors? The latter would suggest that the appeal of crispy foods is ancient and cognitively deep-seated. Perhaps there is a connection between crickets and extra-crispy fried chicken, beyond the occasional unwanted visitor to the deep fryer.”
So to celebrate crispy week and to honor the brave crickets who sacrificed for our gustatory development, I give you Macaroni and Cheese Balls—macaroni and cheese rolled in breadcrumbs and baked so that every forkful will give you the crunch we all crave.
This recipe calls for using Kraft Mac n’ Cheese from a box. Since that brings back unfortunate memories of $10 per week food budgets in college, not to mention the salty, chalky, fishy flavor of the plastic cheese, you should use your favorite homemade recipe. And add some freshly-grated parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs.