okay, i’m going to kick off mac & cheese mondays with kind of a controversial one: the new earth balance mac & cheese in a box. people have some serious love-it-or-hate-it opinions about this stuff, with a rather impressive third team comprised of eh-what’s-the-big-deal-about-its. personally, i was extremely friggin’ excited when i heard that earth balance was planning to release not one, but two different flavors of boxed mac & cheese.
i’ve been vegan for nearly 10 years now, but in the pregan days, i was seriously into that lovely blue box of kraft macaroni & cheese. i had some in the house at all times, and i really did miss it after i went vegan. because i had been raised on “the stovetop kind” (as opposed to the oven-baked with breadcrumbs kind), it was also sort of hard for me to find satisfying vegan recipes at first; it seemed like everything out there was the creamy beige oven-baked kind. i wanted bright colors! i wanted tangy! eventually, at long last, i found The Greatest Homemade Vegan Mac & Cheese Of Absolutely All Time, but i’ll save that reminder for another monday. aaaanyway, the long and short of it is that i was pretty excited to hear about yellow mac & cheese in a box.
for awhile i just kept seeing pictures of everyone else’s EB mac & cheese adventures, but i could never find it locally myself. the ppk thread about it grew and grew (and it became clear that teams were forming), and i started to get rather impatient. in the end, i gave up on finding it in town, and i ordered three boxes from rabbit food grocery. (i actually ordered both flavors, but i haven’t tried the white cheddar yet, so i’m going to save that review for next week.)
in the ppk thread there was a lot of advice about tinkering with the ingredients (use less margarine! use unsweetened milk! use neither of these things at all, just add a little water!), and to be honest i was a little panicky when it came time to try it. i was afraid of two things: (1) that i would accidentally ruin my new precious, rendering it inedible, and/or (2) that i would be all excited over nothing, because it would be, sadly, gross.
so, i ended up just following the directions on the box exactly (using the amount of EB they call for, and using the milk i happened to have in the house, which was “light plain” soymilk). it got nice and creamy after stirring for awhile, and i was really excited to try it. as i started dishing it into my bowl, i came to the embarrassing realization that i was about to eat an entire box of mac & cheese. that’s normal, right? one box is one serving? oy.
(yes, that is the contents of an entire box in that there bowl.)
with great trepidation i tried my first bite. i was nervous about it being weirdly sweet (as some had reported) or just “blah” (as others had reported), but i’m happy to say that i am Super! Easy! To Please! because i thought it was pretty ding-dang good. it reminded me quite a bit of the old blue box, in a warm and fuzzy nostalgic way, and the more i ate it the more i liked it. there is definitely something about that perfect little noodle shape! it’s funny, because it’s definitely different from my new all-time favorite (stay tuned for another monday!), but it still hit the spot, and i would definitely be willing to keep a box or two around for immediate comfort food needs. i have one more box of the yellow in the pantry, but i’m going to make the white cheddar flavor next to see how it compares. i shall report back!