SNACKDOWN: The Velveeta Embargo of 1931

WE'RE KICKING OFF DORM WEEK! Featuring a TON of microwavable, frozen, gross college foods for you and me. Especially me, though. Because I'm in a real live dorm. Thanks for all the wonderful birthday wishes and comments! I do it for you.And that's why I'm kicking off the week with not one, but TWO relatively gross single serving macaroni and cheese cuplets. In the 1920's and 30's, Velveeta cheese reigned supreme. That shit was tops, and with the relatively burgeoning Kraft company, it was easy to see how they succeeded.

But a new dog entered the scene. This was Kraft Dinners, more commonly known as the quintessential blue box mac and cheese we all know and love, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Thus, a battle began within a powerful and cheesy nation- the Kraft Company, and the two dinners have been fighting mercilessly ever since.

Today, I decided to try one of each dinner in an easy to serve format, the "easy" cup, and decide for myself who the dairy-laden glory would go to. And thus, a battle began.They look almost identical on the shelves. Small microwavable cups, sandwiched among the Hamburger Helper easy mac that nobody wants because the beef pellets look like rat poison, they're both blue and orange and kind of unimpressive. Making them is a cinch. 3 1/2 minutes on each, and then stir in the sauce and let them sit. There's white powder in each of them, but it's not cocaine. My guess is that it's evaporated milk. The cheese and noodle shape is where they each differentiate. While Kraft, (and I know they're both craft, but for the sake of this review, it's now Kraft) has a powder, Velveeta has a tiny packet of their cheese sauce. And Kraft has those funky elbow noodles, where Velveeta has little shells. After mixing in each sauce, I found that the cheese sauce with the Velveeta definitely adhered to the shells well, creating those little flavor pockets we all love and cradling the sauce lovingly, and thickening up nicely, even going so much as to strand off when I took a forkful. The shells, though, were sometimes a little undercooked and had a habit of sticking together while cooking, like those crustaceans that pile on top of one another, and thus didn't get the same amount of cheese that the loners had. Still, though, the cheese was creamy, rich, and oddly enough, had a really nice cheesy flavor. A little sharp, very indulgent.The Kraft definitely had the best noodles. They're those skinny, skinny elbow noodles that always remind me of emo jeans. How can the cheese possibly fit in there? They're like syringe thickness. But they're tender and very soft and adhere really well to the fork. They just never slip off. Unfortunately, the cheese sauce is loose in some places and clumpy in others, and somehow, never seems to dissolve completely, with some granulated pieces hanging around. The flavor is much sharper than the Velveeta and the texture is just kind of saucy and wet.They're both pretty substantial and tasty. Good snacks. But the real deciding factor is the taste and texture. If I had it both ways, I'd mix the Velveeta cheese with the Kraft noodles, but that would cost twice as much and leave me with a gross tasting loser. So, I decided that I can live without the delicious noodles, but it was a very close call.And with that, THE WINNER IS VELVEETA! Here's to a fantastic start of Dorm Week, and a lifetime of better food for you all.

Labels: , , , , ,