For a long time, mac and cheese was in the same boat. I'm not talking about the homemade stuff, of course. That's nearly always delicious, especially when made by my sister-in-law Megan, and occasionally by my mom when she isn't trying to sneak canned tuna into it (I HATE tuna - blahhh). I'm talking the from-a-box, ten-minutes-on-a-stovetop-type stuff. I could never bring myself to go the Easy Mac route. But yeah, when it wasn't pizza or Ramen in college, it was a box of Kraft. Occasionally I got fancy and got the shells and cheese version, but that got old, too.
Anyways, we're here to talk about Trader Joe's Macaroni and Cheese, with (allegedly) Wisconsin cheddar. For whatever reason, probably partially because we've been crazily busy, Sandy and I have gone on a kick with it. At first, yeah, I wasn't so excited about it, but I'll admit, it's growing on me. It's the typical elbow macaroni in a box with some cheesy powder to mix in with some milk and butter, of which I usually put in just a little extra to make the sauce a little creamier. The macaroni is just about right (which, let's be honest, would be hard to screw up) while the cheese, well...it's been so long since I've had the famous blue box brand that I don't recall exactly how that tastes to make a direct comparison, but the TJ's strikes me as being just better. I doubt that the cheese flavor is so authentically Wisconsinite that it matches perfectly with a Spotted Cow, but hey, it is kinda cheddary and tasty enough on its own. It's even better with some hot sauce mixed in (haven't tried the TJ's yet, but just finally kicked a gallon jug of Red Devil, so I will soon!) to make what I, for whatever reason, call "schmac 'n cheese." Hmm, that sounds even dumber when I type it...anyways....
For a buck a box, the mac 'n cheese does its job. It's not the best mac 'n cheese product that TJ's offers (there's a competitor or two), but for a quick, reliable, chewing-optional bite, I think it's good. No, it won't beat out your Aunt Millie's, but nothing from a box ever will. As the one who initially semi-twisted my arm into buying it, Sandy is definitely a fan. "Much better than Kraft, and so good with hot sauce," she said before slapping a four on it. Me? It's helping restore my faith in a boxed convenience American classic. That's worth at least something like a four as well.
Bottom line: Trader Joe's Macaroni and Cheese: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons