Busted By The Mac And Cheese Police
My adventures as a foodie took a wrong turn when I ran into the Kraft Macaroni & Cheese police last month.
It happened this way.
I was visiting family in Champaign, Illinois, when I spotted a pasta lover’s nirvana: a giant Kraft noodle. There it sat behind a chain link fence along Mattis Avenue: a supersized yellow macaroni fit for Tyrannosaurus Rex.
“Stop the car. I’ve got to get a picture,” I told my cousin. There was nowhere to pull over on such a busy street, so she drove up to the gate of Kraft Foods. The guard waved us through. I immediately hopped out of the passenger seat and my son followed, snapping portraits of me and the giant noodle.
I’ll admit that Blue Box Mac and Cheese is one of my guilty pleasures, and has been for as long as I can remember. It’s the ultimate comfort food—just enough savory, just enough chewy. It’s the dish most anyone can master. Boil the mac, drain, add a stick of butter, milk, and the contents of that cheese packet. Mix thoroughly.
My son, also a Blue Box mac fan, managed the ultimate portrait—me and the giant noodle—just before an SUV rolled up with a Kraft policewoman inside.
“You’re trespassing,” she said. Never mind that the guard at the gate had waved us in. She was new and didn’t know the rules, the Kraft cop said. “It’s a privacy issue. You should have taken the photo outside the chain link fence.”
I couldn’t grasp why it would be a good idea to photograph anything through a chain link fence, much less something a awe-inspiring as a giant elbow macaroni with “You know you love it” lettered across its side.
Too late. We were caught, complete with the sinking feeling of a blue light in the back window. The situation could have been cheesier, pardon the pun, if we had literally crashed the gate, but we hadn’t.
Ms. Kraft cop didn’t confiscate my iPhone (which I would have not given up anyway). She just wanted my name and asked what I intended to do with the photos.
“Instagram maybe,” I said.
Although we weren’t cuffed I was miffed at this citizens’ arrest. Yes, we were trespassing I suppose, but it was a good kind of trespassing. And I don’t understand why a private business would set up a perfect photo op on a public street and not expect foodies to ignore a piece of pasta the size of a car. Why tantalize the public? Why incite passersby to slam on the brakes and gawk? Why torment small children? Or large children?
If the noodle is such a problem, why not banish it to an inner courtyard or the front lobby?
I didn’t argue with the woman who was only doing her job. The last thing I wanted was to be cuffed and booked for stalking a gargantuan noodle. She made a note on her clip board and sent us on our way.
Which brings me to the next point. Company policy backfired for me that day. There was a time—until last month, in fact—when Kraft mac & cheese gave me a warm fuzzy feeling.
Not so much now, thanks to the noodle cop.