In keeping with the Kids Issue mission to platform the dreams and anxieties of today’s youth, we asked Simon Ham—son of local critic Robert Ham—to write some reviews. As he is an avid reader and Star Wars obsessive, we thought he might want to review something related to pop culture. It turns out Ham the younger had some very strong views on store-bought macaroni and cheese.
Kraft Macaroni & Cheese
This review will make a lot of 30-year-olds mad. I thought this macaroni and cheese was just OK. However, it’s still the second-best one on this list, which shows you how bad the others get. Kraft is creamy and would be the best on this list, if not for one thing: the flavor. It is very tangy and there’s not much to it. The cheese is supposed to carry the flavor, which will be a big problem as you will be well aware of soon. Other than the flavor, this is a very good macaroni and cheese. 6.5 out of 10
Annie’s Classic Mild Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese
You might notice a problem already. MILD CHEDDAR!? That’s blasphemy on the scale of Pope John XII. This is a boring and frankly bad mac and cheese. As I’m sure you could figure out before I said it, this mac and cheese has almost no flavor to it because it is mild cheddar. As with Kraft, the cheese is supposed to carry the flavor, but in this brand there’s almost no flavor. On top of that, the packaging is a falsehood—as the pasta itself looks nothing like what’s on the box. Overall, this is a mild macaroni and cheese for mild people. 3 out of 10
Cheetos Mac ‘n Cheese
Sometimes science goes too far. And it sure as beans did with this devil’s brew, as Cheetos Mac ‘n Cheese is the second-worst food I’ve ever had. I feel sick to my stomach thinking about it.
Let’s go through this step by step, alright? First off, the smell. It smells as if Cheetos was both sour and moldy and was made entirely out of blue cheese. For some unholy reason the higher-ups at Cheetos—that’s right, I’m calling you out—decided to put blue cheese in this witches’ broth. Now on to the taste. Right out of the batter’s box, this might be one of the most synthetic-tasting things I’ve ever tasted. AND IT ACTUALLY TASTES LIKE CHEETOS! It tastes like Cheetos but if Cheetos was made with moldy extra-sharp cheddar. No one should ever eat this devil’s sacrifice ever again. 0 out of 10
THE FROZEN APPROACH
Michelina’s Macaroni & Cheese Bake
Michelina’s Macaroni & Cheese Bake macaroni and cheese is almost a carbon copy of Annie’s, except it’s frozen. That little bit of difference makes the pasta mushy. Unlike Kraft, which has a weird flavor, this has almost no flavor! The pasta itself is intrusive and not very awesome-pants. This macaroni and cheese is very, very mediocre, but it’ll work if it’s 10 pm and there’s nothing else to eat because everything is sold out. 3 out of 10
Stouffer’s Macaroni & Cheese
Quite good. Stouffer’s Macaroni & Cheese actually beats out Kraft, which surprised me a lot as I thought the frozen dishes were going to be the worst ones. Let’s talk about the taste in full, as I think it deserves it: The pasta, thank God, does not include any flavor or intrude into the cheese in any way, which is how it’s supposed to be. The sauce—which is the mainstay of macaroni and cheese and should always be—is creamy, thick and something close to a sauce, which hasn’t happened for anything else up to this point on the list. Stouffer’s was a very good meal, the best one on this list. 7 out of 10
Banquet Mac & Cheese Meal
Coming off of that high note, you would think I would’ve picked a good meal to close with. NOPE! This one is very bad. The cheese tastes like athlete’s foot and—as I’ve stated before—the pasta is supposed to hold the dish together, not add any extra flavor. Overall, Banquet Mac & Cheese Meal has bad cheese sauce, and not much else going for it. 2 out of 10