If I had a million dollars

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the invention of Kraft Dinner. This only recently came to my attention with a scant few months left to celebrate. Clearly Google dropped the ball on this one but I am happy to pick it up on their behalf. Apparently the idea for Kraft Dinner came from an enterprising grocery salesman who convinced his customers that selling grated cheese packaged with macaroni would increase their profit. This was probably the first incarnation of shelf-stable convenience food and started us down the slippery slope towards Pop Tarts and Cup ‘o Noodles, also mainstays in the post-secondary student diet. I would not be surprised if Kraft has some of the original boxes of their product and that they were still perfectly edible (or at least as edible as they ever were). Here are some important facts and observations about Kraft Dinner.

1. Kraft Dinner is only known as Kraft Dinner in Canada. In the U.S. it is known as Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and in the U.K. it is sold as ‘Cheesey Pasta’ which may reflect English laws for truth in advertising. Kraft Dinner is the number-one selling Canadian grocery item, with 100 million boxes off the shelf each year. We have clearly embraced the notion that it is worthy of the meal it is named after.

2. Kraft Dinner has evolved to keep pace with modern times. Most of its innovation has centred around packaging and preparation, with some exceptions. Fortunately, Canada has not fallen prey to some of the dubious improvements available in the U.S. market, like wiener flavoured sauce, because we are proud of our culinary skill of adding the real thing. However, I don’t understand the appeal of microwavable single serving packages. First of all, who is so busy that they can’t wait 6 minutes for the macaroni to boil, and second, who has the self control not to eat an entire box?

3. In recent years, Kraft Dinner has battled against store-brand competitors and I must admit I have sinned by buying the white cheese version purveyed by the President. This was a misguided attempt to raise the pedigree of my indulgence. White cheese on white macaroni turns out to be a very wrong combination and I have since reverted to the much more pleasing aesthetic of day-glow orange.

4. In doing my extensive research for this report, I was alarmed to discover that earlier this year Kraft inexplicably announced it is rebranding to Mondelez International. Who knows if we will now be buying Mondelez Dinner or will be assimilated into the Macaroni and Cheese labelling borg. I recommend going out right now to buy a lifetime’s supply in case the worst happens.