I have gone on a whole diatribe over macaroni cheese before. I don’t want to waste your time or mine by repeating it all. Let’s get to the point.
Truth be told, Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Rice Pasta & Cheddar was not a product I was particularly eager to buy, much less consume. It’s the “rice”. While I do not have anything against rice per-se, Sandy and me keep a bucket full of it in our kitchen and we eat rice almost every day. It’s just I have seen rice go out of its place and ruin things. TJ’s rice flour tortillas, which I purchased once, and nearly died upon the first bite, should be discontinued. This was before I learned about their amazing return policy. Keep away from them. They’re far, far away. That’s it. And there’s also the fact that TJ’s already makes a delicious gluten-free corn pasta. That would be the way I’d go if I were the boss of the entire operation.
But I’m not in control (at least, not yet), so we’re here with ricey mac & cheese. Eh. I will be completely honest and say that I am not a big fan. Some things just taste a little odd. It could be all the gluten in it. Sandy made the pot. Although she may have overcooked it a bit, the noodles were too densely cooked and chewy. Thick newspaper came to mind, for whatever reason. This is how the noodles tasted. My experience is that I always put the powdered milk, butter and cheese on top of the noodles. This box is different. The box actually tells you to combine all the ingredients separately and then pour over. Sandy, being the always-submissive chef, did as instructed and was happy to oblige. This could have been completely fabricated, but I don’t believe the sauce adhered to the noodles nearly as well. And yes, it did taste a little odd. Is there gluten in mac ‘n cheese cheese? Don’t know. It could be. A little hot sauce could make it all better.
Sandy believes I am full of it. Sandy said that she had already decided not to try it, and now she’s going to write a negative review about it because it’s new. Talk about being put in your own place. She is probably partially correct. Sandy thought it was worthy of four stars. She has repeated her appreciation many times, as though the brand needed her constant affirmation to get through each day. Me? It’s not great. This is not how boxed mac & cheese tastes for gluten-free people. It’s not fair that you get another poor imitation of an American favorite. Not when better glutenless noodle technology is available and lurks just a few shelves over. I will accept a 2.5.
Bottom line: Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Rice Pasta & Cheddar: 6.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons