Kraft Mac and Cheese has been a favorite of mine for years, and a few years ago when they introduced Easy Mac, I was thrilled. How could I not be? The ability to have a single serving of mac and cheese anytime I wanted as long as there is a nearby microwave, what more could one want?
Of course, that’s not really the case. Easy Mac isn’t quite as good as the regular boxed variety, and you still need to have a bowl and muck around with measuring water. Not difficult tasks to be sure, but it does make it more problematic for taking to the office. Who wants to wash bowls at the office or keep a measuring cup for the water? And so, Easy Mac has remained a home snack.
Imagine my delight when I recently saw that Kraft had released Easy Mac in a self-contained bowl!
The new packaging comes in a styrofoam insulated plastic cup with a marked inner line for the water level. So much for eliminating the bowl and the water measuring! Inside is a (small) portion of macaroni and a cheese sauce packet. Like ordinary Easy Mac, the process is simple: Add water, Microwave, add cheese sauce, stir.
Unlike ordinary Easy Mac, there’s something else in the mix: a strange white powder mixed in with the macaroni. The packaging indicates that the powder is normal and is necessary for proper cooking of the macaroni. Why? No such powder is needed for regular Easy Mac.
I cannot deny, this is the easiest yet of the Easy Mac.
But here’s the $64 question: How does it taste?
With the first bite, I knew something was amiss. There’s an odd chemical, almost plastic flavor to the finished product. Is it the bowl? Is it the mysterious white powder? I cannot say, but it is not as good as the real product.
The new Easy Mac comes in two “flavors”: original and triple cheese. My first taste trial was with original. On my second attempt I tried triple cheese and felt that this was much more like the traditional Easy Mac in flavor. In fact, I could barely taste the plastic at all. Thinking that it might be a taste bud variation from one day to the next, I immediately proceeded to prepare a second original flavor cup to compare. Once again, the plastic flavor was quite strong. Apparently “triple” cheese is needed to overcome the plastic. (You might as well prepare two, these bowls are even smaller than an old-style Easy Mac serving!)
Conclusion: Good to have around the office, stick with the triple cheese. You’re still ingesting some plastic residue of some kind, but at least the flavor is masked.