Peter H. Coffin (hellsop) wrote in macncheese_anon,
Peter H. Coffin

Betty Crocker Mac and Cheese - Original

Product blurb claims "Hearty elbow noodles with creamy, cheesy sauce for delicious mac & cheese the whole family will love!" That's a stretch, in a couple of different directions... This is an inexpensive flagship box. Paid about $0.80 for one.

Box contains the usual "packet + noodles" we've all come to love. The noodles aren't "elbow" by any reasonable definition either. They're there same shoe-string diameter micro-ziti shape as almost everyone else has. They are, however, made from what looks like plain wheat flour instead of normal semolina, so they're kind of an eggshell color instead of pale yellow. Cheese packet is unmarked, and pillowy, which gives the cheese powder room to move and it feels uncaked.

Cooking time is listed as 9-11 minutes instead of the more common 7-9. Perhaps that's a side effect of the different noodle grain. Noodles are very starchy and the water becomes only translucent quickly, as the noodled fade into a swirling haze. Stirring is non-optional as they will also clump and stick together quickly. Draining at precisely 9 minutes left them slightly overdone, but with a remaining sticky toothiness that's ... different, but pleasant.

Per my usual process, I return the pan to low heat and stir in the recommended butter and milk (1/4 cup each, very normal) until the butter is all melted.

Cheese sauce packet has a tear-notch cut in it, and the packet needs it; it's very tear-resistant otherwise. The cheese powder is fine-grained and yellow, and (as guessed before) the anti-caking techniques work very well. The powder pours smoothly from the packet, and mixes quickly, first to orange, sticky clumps, then gives way to a normal pale orange creamy sauce.

Aesthetically, the taste and texture of the resulting product is quite good. The sauce is creamy and mild, with no cheddar bite, and the noodles have a bounciness, even through the soft texture that the nine minutes of cooking left. Critical descriptions would call it bland, and it can certainly take a fair amount of post-prep seasoning to bring it to something interesting if you're looking for adventure.

Overall: 7 of 10. (Kraft classic gets 8 on my scale)
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