Here in Canada, “Kraft Dinner” is the brand under which Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is sold. Macaroni and cheese is one of those tastes of childhood, and being cheap and easy to prepare, “KD” is a staple of university student life. Back in university, a number of us enhanced the dish by adding all sorts of things: ketchup, mustard, hot dog slices, tuna and so on. I liked putting a couple of strips of bacon on mine, because there’s little that bacon can’t enhance.
The people at Kraft must have noticed these enhancements since they’ve release a series of microwaveable Kraft Dinner meals with different flavours such as Alfredo, “Extreme Pizza” and SPicy Szechuan. Being the kinesthetic sort when it comes to food, the Ginger Ninja and I decided to buy a couple of flavours and give them a taste.
The verdict: avoid at all costs. These Kraft Dinner variants aren’t junky-good in the way that original Kraft Dinner is. They just taste awful and have looks that match. Here’s what “Extreme Pizza” looks like:
“Extreme Pizza” is a very bad blend of that Velveeta-esque Kraft Dinner cheese with a low-grade tomato sauce reminiscent of the gunk they put on Chuck E. Cheese pizzas (I know that taste; I have young nephews).
Spicy Szechuan is even worse:
Note that they use different noodles for different flavours; it’s the one bit of culinary artistry that went into them. Different sauces call for different noodles – for example, you don’t serve capellini with a thick meat sauce – and each noodle in this series of Kraft Dinners seems chosen to convey the culinary horror perfectly.
If you must eat these, I would suggest Listerine as a pairing: Listerine Original for the Extreme Pizza, and Listerine Mint for the Spicy Szechuan.
Take a gander at this – it’s a Maven’s Kosher Foods vending machine. It will cook and serve a kosher hot dog – the food of my in-laws! – on the spot for you, in exchange for five dollars:
There are a couple of these at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, where I’m spending the next couple of days as a track lead at Microsoft’s TechDays conference.
Being the curious kinesthetic sort, I have decided that in spite of the fact that TechDays serves a free lunch, I must try a vending machine hot dog. I’m always up for a new experience, and it’s also a good excuse to use the HD videocamera that the Ginger Ninja gave me for our wedding anniversary. Some brave souls and I will order and eat a hot dog from this machine while recording it for posterity and to contribute to the sum of human knowledge. Watch this space!
There was one unhealthy food item at the CNE that I didn’t order:
The Ginger Ninja and I went back to the Canadian National Exhibition yesterday to catch the Superdogs, see the sights and sample some more so-bad-it’s-good food. One item on our list was Taco in a Bag, which many people speak of only in hushed tones.
Taco in a Bag is made by taking a bag of Doritos and giving it a couple of whacks to break the chips into smaller pieces. The bag is sliced open along one of its long sides and then the taco filling is added: ground beef, grated cheese, salsa, sour cream, guacamole and lettuce. You eat it right out of the bag with a fork. It’s like a Frito pie, but you can pretend it’s healthier because it has some lettuce.
It’s just one of the deliciously unhealthy items that the poutine place in the corner of the CNE’s Food Building serves. They also serve a number of different types of poutine. Here’s the left half of their menu:
The first two poutine items on the menu are:
- The Lumberjack: French fries covered with gravy and cheese curds, sausages and a fried egg. I need to try this sometime.
- The Canadian: French fries covered with gravy and cheese curds, topped with two strips of bacon.
Here’s the right half of the menu:
The poutine items on the right side of the menu are:
- The Mexican: French fries covered in gravy and cheese curds, ground beef, salsa, guacamole, sour cream and jalapeno peppers.
- The Traditional: Good ol’ fashioned poutine – just french fries covered in gravy, cheese curds and nothing else.
Getting back to Taco in a Bag – here’s what it looks like when you get it:
It just needs to be stirred up. Here’s what the first bite looks like:
It’s so dirtylicious. If you get the chance, try it. The CNE’s open until next Monday, so keep in mind that time’s running out.
Yesterday, the Ginger Ninja and I went to the Canadian National Exhibition (a.k.a. “The CNE” and “The Ex”, Accordion City’s annual fair featuring shows, rides, shopping and amusements. According to Wikipedia, it’s the largest fair in Canada and the fourth largest in North America.
Part of the fun of going to the Ex is the junk food, and they’ve got that stuff in spades. There are few foods that can’t be made better by deep-frying. Even Oreos, which are pretty good as they are, benefit from being covered in batter and then dunked into a vat of hot oil. We ordered some deep-fried Oreos; here’s what they looked like:
The batter becomes a crispy shell, while the heat of deep-frying turns the Oreo into a gooey, tasty mess of chocolate and cream.
Wendy liked them more than she expected she would, and more than the deep-fried Twix bars I ordered later.
I’m hitting the gym later today.
I wonder if this is just a one-off or if they’re going to publish regularly. Either way:
- I want translations!
- Needs more donuts!