Special counsel appointed

Informed opinion has been very positive about the appointment of Mueller as special counsel to investigate allegations in the semolina affair. Commenters are generally agreed that Mueller is a respected authority in such matters, with a long public career in the field and experience in both semolina matters and the byzantine world of elbow-cheese casseroles.

Mueller just after the appointment:


From Wikipedia:

Macaroni is a variety of dry pasta traditionally shaped into narrow tubes, produced in various shapes and sizes. Originating in Italy and made with durum wheat [that is, with semolina flour], macaroni is commonly cut in short lengths; curved macaroni may be referred to as elbow macaroni [or elbows].

[Linguistic note: macaroni is a M(ass) noun in English. The noun elbow, the truncated version of elbow macaroni, is, however, a C(ount) noun, almost always used in the PL (the close relationship between (SG) M nouns and PL (C) nouns — together forming a grammatical category I’ve labeled E (for Extended, in contrast to S C = I, for Individuated) — is central to the grammar of nouns in English.]

On semolina (flour):

Semolina is the coarse, purified wheat middlings of durum wheat mainly used [as flour] in making pasta and couscous. The word semolina can also refer to sweet dessert made from semolina and milk.

And then from the “semolina pasta: elbows” page on the Mueller’s site:

Shape: Short tubes with a slight bend in the shape. Recommended sauce pairings: meat, cream, seafood, or vegetable based. Adults and kids alike enjoy this shape in the American favorite, Macaroni & Cheese. Additionally, because this shape is hollow, it pairs nicely with a variety of sauces.

And on to macaroni and cheese (aka mac ‘n’ cheese). From Wikipedia:


Macaroni and cheese — also called mac and cheese in American, Canadian, and macaroni pie in Caribbean English; and macaroni cheese in the United Kingdom — is a dish of English origin, consisting of cooked macaroni pasta and a cheese sauce, most commonly cheddar. It can also incorporate other ingredients, such as bread crumbs, meat and vegetables.

Traditional macaroni and cheese is a casserole baked in the oven; however, it may be prepared in a sauce pan on top of the stove or using a packaged mix. The cheese is often first incorporated into a Béchamel sauce (milk gravy) to give a Mornay sauce which is then added to the pasta. In the United States it is considered a comfort food.

… Pasta and cheese casseroles have been recorded as early as the 14th century in the Italian cookbook, Liber de Coquina, one of the oldest medieval cookbooks, which featured a dish of parmesan and pasta.

… The first modern recipe for the dish was included in Elizabeth Raffald’s 1770 book, The Experienced English Housekeeper. Raffald’s recipe is for a Béchamel sauce with cheddar cheese — a Mornay sauce in French cooking—which is mixed with macaroni, sprinkled with Parmesan, and baked until bubbly and golden. The famous British Victorian cookbook Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management included two recipes for the dish.

… In the United Kingdom, during the 2010s, it has seen a surge in popularity, becoming widespread as a meal and as a side order in both fast food and upmarket restaurants.

And in the United States as well. From a 12/23/16 posting here, a section on

a small San Francisco restaurant (1453 18th St., on Potrero Hill) named Mac Daddy, because its specialties are “playful mac ‘n’ cheese combos, salads & American sides”. Part of a trend in restaurants turning comfort food into exquisite upscale specialities. I mean, like truffle mac ‘n’ cheese.

The possibilities for variation are enormous: in the types of pasta used, the types of cheese used, the details of preparation, and the addition of further ingredients.

[Further linguistic note, on the pronunciation of the name Mueller. In German, the first, accented, vowel of the name variously spelled Müller or Mueller is a short high front unrounded vowel [ü] (IPA [y]) — a high vowel that is both palatal (front) and labial (rounded) in articulation. This vowel can be nativized in English in several ways: by eliminating the palatality, giving [U], which is likely to be respelled as Muller and then spelling-pronounced with a [∧]; by eliminating the labiality, giving [I], which is likely to be respelled as Miller; or by breaking the palatality and labiality into sequential components, as [jU] (or [ju]). But the respelling isn’t inevitable, so that there are Americans with the name Mueller with first vowel /U/ (rhyming with fuller), /∧/ (rhyming with cruller), /I/ (rhyming with pillar), and /jU/ or /ju/ (rhyming with fueler). All are attested, but options 2 (/∧/) and 4 (/jU/ or /ju/) are by far the most common. The pasta company and  special counsel Robert Mueller’s family both took option 2. You can hear it in a retro Mueller’s ad here and a recent CNN political news report here,]

One Response to “Special counsel appointed”

  1. Roger Phillips Says:

    The serving suggestion on the packet seems to be to skip the macaroni and eat cheese.

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