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What’s wrong with Kraft Dinner and hot dogs?: Tales From The Dump

Kraft Dinner mixed with instant mashed potatoes, half a can of canned cranberries and some hamburger was a meal columnist Walt Humphries once enjoyed while closing down a camp. Photo courtesy of Walt Humphries

The other day I was on the internet and an article caught my eye and piqued my curiosity. It was about what you should and shouldn’t donate to food banks. It claimed that the number one item you shouldn’t donate was Kraft Dinner. Say what!?

What is wrong with Kraft Dinner? I have been eating it occasionally all my life. Also, it was recently on sale at a grocery store at $10 a box of 12 packages. I bought one for myself and one which I donated to the food bank. It certainly seemed like a good deal and a much better price than buying the boxed individually.

The article went on to say that Kraft Dinner was bad because people on low incomes might not, as per the box’s direction, have a one-third cup of milk and one tablespoon of non-hydrogenated margarine to be added. What? I have always considered those directions to be more of a suggestion than a commandment and have often made it without adding either. This seemed like a pretty lame excuse.

I did a little search on food banks and Kraft Dinner. Did you know that in 2014, according to a CTV story, a local Ottawa food bank banned people from donating Kraft Dinner and hot dogs, along with a dozen other foods they considered “bad”? It sent the message that it is better for food bank patrons to go hungry then get what the people running the food bank consider bad.

To my mind, that is elitist foodyism.

To cloud the issue, they got a couple of quotes from people. One said “Who wants to live on Kraft Dinner? Not us”. Another thought they should “get the same foods just like those who can afford to buy their own groceries.” That is a nice sentiment, but it would mean the food bank would get a lot less food.

I find it ironic that it was a food bank in our nation’s capital that did this because Heaven forbid that people in our nation’s capital have been reduced to a state of income where they are forced to go to food banks. Imagine the shame of the food bank giving them things like Kraft Dinner and hot dogs.

To elevate Kraft Dinner’s prestige, I think the prime minister and all the politicians in the capital should, once a month, have a Kraft Dinner and hot dogs feast. It could be quite an event and would show that politicians eat the same foods as the low-income folks. I’m betting it would make the national and even international news and they could declare it to be one of Canada’s national gourmet meals.

As an aside, I recently had a colonoscopy. I got talking to the nurses who said they often ask people what their first meal will be after a couple days of fasting and purging and drinking three litres of a rather vile fluid. According to them, many people answered Kraft Dinner because it can be a real comfort food. I must admit I was tempted, but waited a couple of days.

I then cut up some onions, mushrooms, red peppers, and asparagus, gave them a quick frying and then added the cooked Kraft Dinner pasta, the cheese package, and some extra brie cheese. No milk or margarine. As far as I am concerned, It was a tasty, healthy, nutritious meal and that’s one of the tricks — you can add pretty much what ever you want to it. I eat it in town, and I usually take a few boxes with me when out in the bush. It can be the main course or a side dish. It is light to carry and fast and easy to make.

One time closing down a camp, I wanted to use things up, so I had Kraft Dinner mixed with instant mashed potatoes, half a can of canned cranberries and some hamburger. It was a good meal.

In cooking, one is limited only by ingredients and one’s imagination.