Macaroni-Off 2016 with the kids (round 1)

As the story goes, I am a 32-year-old addicted to KD. Yes, the original recipe Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Now bare with me as I go off on a little bit of a tangent. I do love me some spirals from time to time but they do tend to cook a little too fast, and they do gip you on content (175g spirals vs 225g macaroni). I wrote a whole blog article about the cauliflower KD but thats .. no! So back to the main point here. I make KD at least once a week, with a healthy sprinkling of black pepper and a good squeeze of sriracha. Heaven in a bowl, and YES I DO eat the whole box to myself.

So when someone comes to me and says they are making macaroni and cheese, and they go on a rant about something other than KD I tend to tune them out. Until it started becoming a reoccurring conversation and then I had to start considering whether I was being close-minded.

Hence the macaroni-off we had today. I borrowed three kids to be my tasters, and we agreed that the four contenders would be the original KD compared to all the other brands consisting of macaroni noodles and cheddar cheese – apples to apples. We only have 4 stove elements so we picked the 4 boxes that have been talked about before. And for you Canadians reading this, some of our KD runner-ups arent available here but perhaps we can introduce them in round 2 🙂

The rules were as follows:

  • I was not a blind tasters, but the kids were.
  • Each box was made the same way (water boiled, pasta added, drained, 1 TBSP butter and 3 TBSP milk, reheated), until revisions were needed to make it work. Notes were made along the way, and I was the only one making the meal just for one extra level of consistency.
  • All boxes were made at the same time and served to the kids in separate bowls (1-4) before commencing. In unison we tried number 1, critiqued, number 2, critiqued,… and so on.
  • At the end, the brands were revealed and we got to feast!


Results (preparing):

  • The Back to Nature brand was very light in color and cooked very fast! Organic O was almost as fast to cook. I think the organic noodles have something to do with it.
  • Annie’s Homegrown and Organic O were so difficult to mix. The powder became chalky and clumpy so more milk was needed. Even the reheating process did not help.
  • The Macaroni and cheese was served ‘as is’, meaning if the clumps didnt go away thats how they were eaten.

Results (eating):

  • Back to Nature (#1) caused a lot of crinkly faces. They said it was too hard but Makenna brought up a good point that at least it doesnt taste ‘fake’… so thats something.
  • Annie’s Homegrown (#2) got a thumbs up! The results were creamier but not a lot of taste. It was better than the first one (Back to Nature) and the noodles stick together better because the sauce.
  • Organics O (#3) seemed good at first and then they all got a weird plastic aftertaste in their mouths. So, good at first but a bad ending.
  • Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (#4) was full of happy faces and cheers of familiarity. It took them seconds to remember the taste that they love. And whether that means it was the best or not, we will never know. But to the tummies and mouths of these kids, it was the winner.


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