Friday, February 19, 2016

Caribbean Jerk Macaroni and Cheese- Aldi (TBT post)

Caribbean Jerk Macaroni and Cheese- Aldi
Want to know how I've been this week? Here's a little taste, "AHHHHHHHHHHH." Yup, that pretty much sums it up. It's been insane! I always start the week off by eating healthy and making good food choices, like my meatless Mondays that I post on Instagram, but by Thursday I'm exhausted and this week has been even crazier than usual. I'm tired, barely sane, and I'm craving junk food. I was rummaging through my pantry for something quick and easy for dinner and I came across this box of jerked macaroni and cheese from...I don't even remember when. A few months ago?  (I hope.) I bought it at Aldi when they were promoting spicy foods and never got around to trying it, so let's see if this meal was worth the wait. 
A box of instant dinner is always a sight for sore eyes, but even if I weren't slightly delusional with hunger I'd say this layout and design are pretty nice for a store branded item. I mean, the palm tree and tiny island illustration are cheesy (Get it? Mac and cheese? Cheesy?! I'm so tired.), but the backdrop is pretty interesting. All of the different shades of blue are giving me this abstract ocean-vibe which is pretty nice and very different from the other blue boxes of cheesy noodles on the shelves. When I look at the type choices, things get pretty iffy, but as far as textures and colors are concerned this layout it a winner. Okay, the box is kind of pretty, and I'm starving, let's rip 'er open and get to business. 

Inside the box are the typical macaroni and cheese ingredients. You get a bunch of raw elbow macaroni noodles loose in the box and a packet of magical flavor dust. I boiled water, cooked the pasta, added the recommended milk and margarine, mixed it all up with the magical jerked flavor packet, and voila! Dinner! Not too bad looking either! It smells a little spicy, like dried jalapeños, but there's a hint of something else in there that I can only describe as Cool Ranch Doritos. These little spice flecks look like Cool Ranch Doritos seasoning too. I may be lazy and desperate for a meal, but I'm starting to have a few reservations about this based on it's smell alone. It's not bad, but it's not "jerked" either. 
I dropped a forkful into my mouth...what did I just eat? By day I'm a graphic designer and printing consultant, and I print for a pretty popular Jamaican restaurant in the area and they always give us food as a thank you for a job well done. By now I know the jerked spice blend pretty well, and this is NOT it. This tastes like...Cool Ranch Doritos were ground up into a powder, mixed with jalapeño popcorn cheese dust, and dumped onto boiled macaroni. It's a very bizarre experience and it took me several forkfuls to figure out if that was a good or bad thing. At first I thought it was okay, the jalapeño pepper was giving me a spicy kick, which I liked, but that oddly bizarre spice blend was NOT jerked at all. This stuff wasn't cheesy, it wasn't jerked, and the final verdict is that it wasn't that good either. 
I gave up after 6 bites and foraged my freezer for something else. Since it was sitting on the stove my sister gave it a try, and she immediately hated it. (At least I gave it a chance.) I love Aldi and their products, and I'm always up for trying something new, but this product in particular was a flop. Maybe if the spice blend had been more accurate and jerked-like it could have worked, but as-is it's nearly inedible. I can't say I'd ever recommend it to anyone, unless there was a moment in your life where you wished there was a Cool Ranch Doritos flavored macaroni and cheese in the world, which is a totally possible. If that's the case, your day has finally come!
© Maria Smith
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