Friends of Semantic Compositions

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« Just perfect | Main | To and fro »

August 14, 2004

Comments

Blinger

In canada Macroni & Cheese is called Kraft Dinner at least from the Manitoba area but I suspect it is the same across Canada.

Margaret

Confirmation from Ontario. "Macaroni and cheese" if homemade, "Kraft Dinner" if from the box.

In your point of debate, SC, "The question is, can you grammatically call it 'pasta and sauce'?", you didn't really mean to say "grammatically," did you? "Lexically," "dialectically" or whatever technical word you linguists use. It makes grammatical sense, but that's not really the issue here...

Semantic Compositions

Point taken; it's not actually ungrammatical. It just sounds anomalous to me.

Radagast

Coming from California, I'd disagree with your interpretation of pasta and sauce implying tomato sauce. The majority of sauces I make for pasta are not, in fact, tomato-based (e.g. aglio e olio, cream based sauces, cheese sauce).

While "pasta and sauce" does not automatically mean macaroni and cheese to me, macaroni and cheese fits under my definition of pasta and sauce. The appropriate response to the statement, "Let's have pasta and sauce tonight" is, in my book, "What kind of sauce over what kind (shape) of pasta?"

One note, however, is that I'm talking about homemade macaroni and cheese where you make a separate cheese sauce and pour that over cooked pasta (and then possibly bake it). I don't feel as good about calilng the boxed varitiey "pasta and sauce"; a packet of powder, a dab of margerine, and a bit of milk doesn't feel like a true sauce to me, though I guess techinically it is "pasta and sauce".

Can I get some free gelato now too?

Rosanne

The default "pasta and sauce" for me is a medium to large-sized wheat pasta* (filled or unfilled) with tomato sauce (NYC, Queens Native, Italian-American). While I would concede that Mac 'n' Cheese is a kind of pasta with sauce, I wouldn't use the "pasta and sauce" descriptor for it.

*Smallish pasta like tubettini, pastina, or orzo are marked and require explanation. Besides this, these are better in soup or served in porridgey gooeyness with grated romano.

entangledbank

I didn't like the sound of this, as unqualified 'pasta and cheese' definitely has the implicature of tomato-based sauce for me. So I had a shufti round an authentic English supermarket.

This product is marketed as 'macaroni cheese'. I couldn't find anything labelled with unqualified 'sauce': it's always tomato and herb sauce, cheese sauce, carbonara sauce, etc. (By the way 'tomato sauce' as such means ketchup; the tomato-based sauce is called spaghetti sauce, or maybe pasta sauce, or is given a description like tomato and herb sauce.)

However there is a line of products called Pasta 'n' Sauce, made by Batchelors, instant pasta in packets. The only two kinds this place stocked both had cheese sauces of some kind, but a websearch shows they make tomato ones too.

entangledbank

Dammit, forgot to mention that unqualified 'pasta', as in tuna pasta bake, is penne.

Russell

To be equivocal, I'd say that macaroni and cheese is a rather peripheral example of "pasta and sauce." In other words, if asked if M&C were "pasta and sause," I'd have to say yes (applies to both home-made and boxed versions). But, if asked to provide examples of "pasta and sauce," M&C would come at the way bottom of the list. I would probably think of Spaghettios first.

So, the answer is: yes, I suppose, darn it.

(dialect info: born and raised in California by an Ohian and a Korean)

language hat

"pasta" means something made out of wheat and served with tomato sauce

This is unequivocally wrong, as Radagast notes. Many, if not most, pasta sauces are not tomato-based. The idea that "pasta and sauce" is the English way to say "mac and cheese" is also looking pretty poorly, judging by entangledbank's comment. (Could it be that it was simply a favorite phrase of the household where Mrs. SC was staying?) So I'd have to say the entire subject is moot. But I'd be glad to have a plate of it, whatever you call it.

Semantic Compositions

Languagehat: Mrs. SC reports that the usage was common at Lancaster University, where she spent a semester.

The way we score these, Mrs. SC comes out ahead on points, 3-2.

The irksome thing about this is that this now marks a surplus of some 18 times where she has been right and bet on it. It is, of course, quite obvious that this reflects poorly on SC's betting skills, not on how often he is actually right. ([Ahem! I'll take my gelato now. -- Mrs. SC])

Radagast: No.

Radagast

Hmph!

entangledbank

Aha, she was at university? A poor student? Pasta 'n' Sauce is just the sort of thing they live on, like Pot Noodles or Cup-a-Soup. I bet they used it generically.

q10

I'm an American and a native English speaker (San Francisco / Boston), and it would never have occurred to me to exclude elbow macaroni from ‘pasta’. I think the objection to the usage is more pragmatic than grammatical - macaroni is a pasta and the cheese is a sauce, but it's a specific and common enough combination that it's more felicitous to just call it ‘macaroni and cheese’, and we feel confused and cheated when people deliberately withhold this information.

speedwell

Traditional, old-fashioned, "cafeteria-style" macaroni & cheese (I always use the &) is a baked casserole. You make it just like macaroni with cheese sauce except you then pile it into a baking dish, top with crumbs, and bake for a half hour. The sauce melds with the pasta, turning into a sort of cohesive gratin.

It's similar to "baked ziti," which despite having a tomato and ricotta matrix is not what I would consider "pasta and sauce" either.

jim

Since when are elbow macaroni not pasta? While growing up the generic sauce for pasta fluctuated between pesto (green basil sauce) and tucco (red meat sauce). My grandmother's favorite was simply olive oil and perhaps a little pepper. Other fancier sauces were available, but we rarely had them. Though I didn't have macaroni and cheese until I was in my thirties, it seems like a good candidate for pasta with a cheese sauce. Lasagna and ziti are certainly pasta dishes, though they're baked together with a sauce in a casserole rather than simply dressed (condire) with a sauce. Some of the sauces were not just for pasta dishes. Tucco sauce goes well with polenta, either freshly made or reheated later, or simply to dip a piece of French brea in. Also the pot roast that this sauce was made from is sometimes served sliced (cold or warm) with the sauce on top of it and no pasta in sight. (I was born and brought up in California by the children of Italian immigrants.)

dan

For a totally different perspective, in Australian (Melbourne) we don't really have any standard reference for Macaroni and cheese. I am familiar with it from US TV shows etc, and there is a packaged variety which you can buy, but I have never had anyone describe a homemade dish to me as Macaroni and Cheese. If someone did, I would be more inclined to understand that they were talking about elbow pasta with grated cheese on top.

Pasta & Sauce isn't even a generic term which would be readily applicable. Generally a more descriptive term would be used (for the dish described above it would be perhaps "pasta bake with cheese sauce").

Margaret

Now, just what is the gelato riding on? Whether macaroni & cheese _is_ a pasta with a sauce? Whether Mrs. is allowed to call it that? Whether Americans would call it that?

From what I read above, it seems that my (Canadian) usage coincides with the Americans who have answered. Yes, macaroni and cheese is a pasta with a sauce. No, I wouldn't ever say "pasta and sauce" if I meant macaroni and cheese. So who wins?

speedwell

Well, now, we don't know for sure who advocates which name. But since SC asked whether "pasta and sauce" is GRAMMATICALLY correct, the answer must be "yes."

OK then. You have "A" and you have "B," therefore you have "A and B." In the case of macaroni and cheese, you have pasta and you have sauce. Therefore it is perfectly grammatical to say you have "pasta and sauce."

Blinger

I agree with Margaret, it is pasta and sauce but I would never call it that.

amanda

'Pasta N Sauce' is a brand name here in the UK. It is an instant/junk food type of dried pasta and powder packet that comes in a few flavours - one of them Macaroni Cheese FLAVOUR.

To make what we Brits call real 'Macaroni Cheese' (notice the 'and' is missing) you bake Macaroni pasta (after boiling it) in a bechamel sauce that has cheese in it. It is a UK favourite aswell as a US fave.

So 'Pasta and sauce' (grammar not in question as obviously correct) doesn't pertain specifically to Macaroni Cheese in the UK.

If one was to say I'd like 'Pasta and Sauce' for supper (over here) no-one would know what on earth you were talking about!

I stumbled across your amusing website while trying to find out why I can't buy 'Pasta N Sauce - Macaroni cheese flavour' anymore, anywhere!

I loved it.

Goodbye!

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