MAGGIE ELIAS ’17 AND KELLY VAUGHAN ’17
During my sophomore year of high school, my U.S. history teacher and I bonded over the fact that we loved to cook. When I told him that my favorite food was macaroni and cheese, he replied that his kids shared the same affinity for this cheesy delight. He said that he only served them the organic kind, not the kind with the “neon orange powdered cheese.” I agreed, feeling that we had formed a close bond not just over this comforting carbohydrate, but over a brand – Annie’s.
My parents raised me on a relatively strict organic diet, so for as long as I can remember I was consuming Annie’s. I never quite had a preference over the orange or white cheddar shells, but Annie was my girl. She has always been somewhat of a food-centric Cupid; my boyfriend and I would often cook Annie’s white cheddar macaroni and cheese when preparing for a late night in the library, or when we were just craving something warm and pleasing after a day of long, somewhat dismal civil war history readings.
Recently, my roommates and I were having a friendly, yet heated, argument over something we are all extremely passionate about in our house – food. Someone’s takeout had been eaten and I offered her my last box of my macaroni and cheese. She opened the cabinet, looked at the purple box of Annie’s Shells & White Cheddar and let out a large sigh, “Annie’s?! Kraft is so much better!” Within seconds, six girls were going back and forth, with our voices quickly raising, about which was better: Annie’s or Kraft macaroni and cheese. The argument continued for about 20 minutes until we came to as much of an agreement as we could. With a 4-2 majority, Annie’s won and we proceeded to purchase an 18 pack of the delicious organic pasta with our recent trivia game winnings.
Although Kraft has traditionally dominated the boxed macaroni and cheese aisle in the grocery store, Annie’s has grown in popularity over the past decade or so. When comparing nutritional labels, the two brands are quite similar in regards to the packaged information. However, Kraft is far more unhealthy once prepared, most likely due to the huge chunk of butter it calls for. It might make the macaroni and cheese that much creamier, but one has to be willing to make the cholesterol sacrifice. It is also crucial to look at the ingredients in each of the boxes – Annie’s organic pasta is made from durum wheat whereas Kraft uses an enriched product, which can sometimes taste fake.
Kraft does give Annie a run for its money with two of it’s qualities – it’s shapes and price. For some reason, macaroni and cheese shaped like Spongebob Squarepants and more recently, Finding Dory, taste so much better than the boring tubes or shells. Some may say it’s in my head, but I beg to differ. When it comes to saving that last penny too, Kraft gets the gold star with its typical $1 a box price. Although Annie’s 2 for $5 price is justified for its organic quality, it can sometimes be a splurge.
Perhaps it is the nine ingredients in a box or the more natural hues of white, yellow, and orange, I’m not exactly sure. But, something about Annie’s just tastes better than Kraft.