Sunday, June 03, 2007

Macaroni and Cheese Taste Test

Our boys love macaroni and cheese like most kids. I recently read a Salon article about what a rip off "natural / gourmet" mac and cheese products are, how they're just as unhealthy as McDonalds and how Annie of Annie's Homegrown is an evil marketing genius. So we made our own version which took much longer than the prepared versions by the way. Pasta, cheese, butter and milk are really cheap, it's healthier than the prepackaged versions obviously. But our boys, who regularly eat penne or fusilli with salt, butter and grated romano or asiago, totally dissed it. Dan and I thought it was pretty good (but not worth the effort). Beecher's World's Best Mac and Cheese is my favorite, but it's also pricey.

Here's how the main contenders stacked up in our house:

Amy's Kitchen - Frozen. Calories: 410. Trans Fat: 0 Sodium: 590 Organic: 82% organic - milk, macaroni.
Asher, "It's good." Elliot, "This is the best. It's salty and cheesy." MK, "Good mouth feel. Nice cheddar flavor."

Annie's - From a box. We added milk. Calories: 280 (single serving) Trans Fat: 0 Sodium: 530 Organic: Certified organic by Oregon Tilth.
Asher says, "It's good." Elliot says, "I don't like it. It's boring."

Full Tank - Secret Agent Pasta Macaroni and Cheese - made by a local Seattle company. Frozen. Calories: 310 Trans Fat: 0 Sodium: 400 Organic: Certified O by Oregon Tilth. Asher says, "It's good." Elliot says, "Yuck. It's too sweet. Here you eat it Asher." MK says, "Not creamy enough, needs more salt or garlic." Designed by a chef and a pediatrician, Full Tank hides vegetables in the sauce which is why their mac and cheese is so sweet. Asher isn't that picky, but it didn't fool Elliot. The boys had carrots with dinner. So it wasn't really necessary to hide veggies for our guys.

Amy's Kitchen, the least healthy product won. But since we have a case of Annie's Mac and Cheese we'll continue to serve it regularly and buy Amy's on special occasions for Elliot. Maybe I'll buy Secret Agent Man for Asher on special occasions.

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