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Is Annie's good?

(article, Kim Carlson)

Last week Salon posted an article "exposing" the underbelly of that staple in many do-good parents' cupboards: Annie's mac 'n' cheese. 

The article, written by (name-of-the-month-club winner) Anastacia Marx de Salcedo, asserts that Annie herself is a corporate "evil marketing genius," the food is barely better than Kraft's version in the blue box, and we consumers have no right to be smug about our choices to eat such so-called "natural" stuff: 

"So, stand up, please, and receive a heartfelt thank-you from the American food industry. Where would they be without the culinary passivity and anesthetized palate you are so assiduously cultivating in the next generation?"


The discussion has been lively with comments, pro and con, on the beloved and maligned stuff in the purple box. Much of the commentary has been on Salon, but not all of it. Blogger Meg Hourihan at Megnut defended Annie's and called the article "dishonest." She admits that she doesn't eat Annie's products all that often, but nevertheless she objected to the rant directed at people who simply want to choose less-processed food, of which Annie's, compared with Kraft, is. 

Lots of readers agreed. The head of Annie's even joined in the discussion, both on Salon and on Megnut, defending Annie's and accusing Marx de Salcedo of sloppy journalism. (The rabbit image, for instance, didn't come from a big agency as the article states, but rather from Annie's brother.)

Annie's is a fact of life in our household, and I wasn't convinced by the Salon article not to buy it; there are times when my younger daughter just needs a snack RIGHT NOW, and a hot bowl of Annie's fits the bill like nothing else. 

What I really appreciated from the discussion were other people's ideas on how to soup the stuff up with a can of tomatoes and other add-ins (broccoli and tuna in the basil version, anyone?) — or to cut the powdered cheese in half, but add a big handful of grated cheddar. Now why hadn't I thought of that?