Annie’s boxed mac & cheese: the best quarantine craving

Reviews

I’ve found just the activity that you’ve been looking for.  Having read the headline, you must already know that today you’re here to get a formal, universal, and unbiased review on making and eating the ultimate feel-good food: Annie’s boxed mac and cheese.

Annie’s is undeniably perfect, giving you a fulfilling dish and a great experience which will leave you feeling like a top chef. 

I’ll be taking you through the experience of making and eating a food that almost everyone likes. I’m currently going through the process of making a box of mac and cheese. Currently, there is a small saucepan of heavily salted boiling water into which I will put the noodles of my box of Annie’s Organic Vegan Mac: Cheddar Flavor. Yes, we vegans can be included sometimes. 

If you’d like the tea on the real thing, the purple box of orecchiette shells, just imagine what the Greek gods would eat: it’s everything you could ever want and more. But this orange box should be perfectly sufficient, as there hasn’t been anything wrong (yet) to come from Annie’s.

Even before opening the package, I have a few observations to share. The “servings per container,” which is 2.5, is complete nonsense. Eat the whole thing. It’s food for your soul. While many pre-prepared foods have way too much sodium, this one isn’t too bad; eating more than half shouldn’t exceed half of the daily value.

This sunset-orange box is covered in pictures of Bernie. No, not Sanders, though I kind of wish it were. Instead it’s the cute, white, bunny mascot integral to the brand we know and love.

Lastly, Annie’s is very hands-on with their instructions: including pictures, exact measurements, and even words of encouragement, which we know you need if you’ve decided to make mac and cheese from a box. While you wait for the pasta to cook, you have a thin cardboard box to keep you entertained for “8-10 minutes or until done.”

The water has reached a boil, and in go the macaroni noodles, similar in shape and size to real macaroni. I’m taking this time to prepare the add-ins: ⅓ cup of Silk soy milk (my milk of choice), two tablespoons of a Country Crock unsalted butter stick, and my secret weapon, a good pinch of freshly ground black pepper. Speaking from someone with a history of many culinary disasters, it’s quite hard to mess this up. If you want to be really boujee, you could add four strands of saffron and mix them in with the pan still over the heat. This is a great way to convince a date that it’s home-made.

After the pasta has been cooked and drained, I put it back into the still heating pan and added the milk, cheese powder, butter, and then pepper, in that order. Bon appetit!

It’s exquisite. It’s creamy, cheesy, and perfectly buttery. It melts in your mouth and has the smoothest bite, the kind even restaurant pasta aspires to. 

This is the dish you made because you just weren’t feeling today, you knew you could change that, and you were always right. 

The flavors in this sauce work together so well. You can tell immediately that there was much thought, consideration, and time put into perfecting the mac and cheese. Not too salty, not too cheesy (which is definitely possible for vegan options, ‘ahem, Daiya’), and the black pepper that I added takes me to a carbonara or a cacio e pepe, but this is much more fun.

In my opinion, there are only three sensible choices of boxed mac and cheese: Annie’s, Kraft, and Daiya. Kraft is a cute little moment and brings you back to childhood but fails to capture the taste of real mac and cheese. Daiya is the best for you, and always vegan, but some of the flavors are a bit wack, and the original is just a tad too artificial and thick. In addition, the packet of cheese sauce in Daiya boxes makes me feel less like a chef. Annie’s outperforms both by far; it presents you childhood simplicity while serving you sophistication.

Boxed mac and cheese will never fix your problems. It will never give you clear skin, pay your bills, nor fix your relationship with that one family member. However, Annie’s can, even if for a few minutes, make you feel as though all of your problems disappeared.