It's the Bettiest

A surprise from Betty Crocker: boxed macaroni and cheese dinner. Between Kraft's ubiquitous blue box on one hand and the cents-off store brands on the other, Mr. Tidbit wouldn't have thought there was room for a third hand from Betty. But there it is, in bright-red boxes in three flavors.

The preparation method is very different from Kraft's. Rather than Kraft's procedure (boil the pasta; drain it; and stir in the cheese packet, margarine and milk), Betty has you combine the pasta and other ingredients (including lots more milk) and cook them together, stirring frequently as the sauce cooks down. Instead of the stuck-together little orange tubelets that constitute the signature Kraft product, Betty's produces much larger soft-cooked elbows, in quite a bit of sauce, depending on how far you cook it down.

Mr. Tidbit tried Betty's side-by-side with Kraft's. He thinks most people would agree that Kraft's is, as Kraft puts it, "the cheesiest." But Betty's pasta-in-sauce is much more like the homemade macaroni and cheese your mom would have made -- except that she probably made Kraft's.

Kraft's 7.25-ounce blue box dinner makes three 1-cup servings; Betty's smaller 5.6-ounce box is said to do the same. Betty's 1-cup serving must include more sauce.


More Cool Whip

Kraft's new Cool Whip frosting, in three flavors -- chocolate, vanilla and cream cheese (sold in the freezer case, next to the regular Cool Whip) offers a challenge of sorts to the light "whipped" variety of frostings from Betty Crocker and Pillsbury. Mr. Tidbit would say it's not much of a challenge.

He bought a tub of the chocolate version (of course), and one of Betty Cocker's milk chocolate whipped frosting. Tasted (and even just seen) next to each other, there was lots more flavor in Betty's. At one online store, where a 12-ounce tub of Betty Crocker whipped frosting was $1.59 and the 12-ounce tub of regular Cool Whip was $2.19, the 10.6-ounce tub of Cool Whip frosting was $2.49.

Mr. Tidbit was also going to compare the chocolate-flavored regular Cool Whip, but it has been discontinued. Hmm.