Sunday, January 12, 2014

Vegan Mac & "Chreese": A Tale of Disaster

Because I am sick for the second time in three weeks (yea, I have no clue. Don't even ask me to guess what my immune system is doing. I had a fever yesterday and spent the entire night shivering and sweating like I was in a sweat lodge. This is especially annoying because usually I never gets sick and now I've been sick twice in three weeks)I thought I'd write a short but (hopefully) amusing post. The last few months I've been dabbling in some vegan baking and cooking. I've cut out a lot meat from my diet and wanted to see exactly how far a stretch it would be to cut out (a few time a week) animal products in general. I'm happy to say that all of my attempts have been successful and delicious. One thing I've managed to cut out (almost) entirely with almost no effort is dairy. This proved to be pretty simple and other than a few cravings for cheese early on it has been painless.

In October, while one of my friends was in town, I mentioned to get that I was really enthusiastic to try making vegan mac and "cheese." She was skeptical and asked a lot of questions. Understandably so, cheese is delicious and I'm generally skeptical of stuff that claims to taste "like the real thing." But, I was confident about vegan mac and cheese being delicious and was very holy than thou in my insistence that it would be great.

Last week, Joe had a dental procedure that required him to be on soft foods for a few days. We went to whole foods and he picked up some mac and cheese and other soft foods. At the very top of the shelf, I noticed a prepackaged brand of vegan brown rice pasta mac and "chreese" (yes, they call it chreese. red flag #1) . Deciding this would probably be good (I mean, all the vegan recipes I'd cooked had been delicious), I picked up a box to have for dinner one night. It's not like I normally eat mac and cheese but let's be real, it is delicious. I wanted to try a vegan version because I was wondering whether the vegan version could guiltlessly fill the void in my life left open long ago.

So, Thursday night, after a long day, I started making my vegan mac and "chreese." It was an unmitigated disaster. This was quite possibly the most unappetizing thing I have even put in my mouth. From the minute I started mixing the "chreese"sauce, I knew bad things were going to happen. Here is the email I sent to my friend notifying her of my awful experience.

So that vegan mac and cheese was HORRENDOUS. As in, I was mixing the "cheese" sauce and was like this smells so weird it is triggering my gag reflex. I tasted it and didn't even swallow. Joe was observing the entire process, quietly laughing to himself with a bowl of real mac and cheese! I spit it out in the sink and threw the rest down the disposal. I am now eating real mac and cheese!

So, the boxed vegan mac and cheese was a HUGE mistake and I put aside my no dairy experiment to have the only thing that could cure the disaster - a bowl of real mac and cheese. You guys, there are no words to describe how gross this was. Like I said, the minute the "chreese" mix came of out of the packet, the smell signaled bad news. I am very sensitive to bad smells and the minute I commented on the smell, Joe knew I wasn't going to eat any of what I was making. My only regret is that I made the mistake of actually putting that mess into my mouth. I can't even describe what it tasted like but just thinking about it makes me gag.

So lesson learned here - don't trust stuff that comes in a box and tells you to just add your favorite non-dairy milk. No good will come of it. I am however, still confident that vegan mac and "cheese" made from scratch will taste good. It has to, right?


  1. I've had the made-from-scratch stuff and while it's different, it's still good. But I am generally of the opinion that vegan boxed food is disgusting. I have yet to try anything that proves this wrong.

    You should check out Appetite for Reduction or Isa Does It - two easy, amazing vegan cookbooks. I bet they'd have good mac & not-cheese recipes. :)

    1. Ahh! Thanks for the advice. This was my first foray into boxed vegan stuff and yes, it was all kinds of disgusting. I like simple vegan cookbooks - I am not about to make a flax egg or something equally as complicated. I want easy and delicious.