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Have you ever tried to reheat Kraft mac n cheese? How’d it go?

I already know that it didn’t go well. It doesn’t keep. How do I know all this?

From my worst night as a drunk food monster.

I should have known this was a trap. It’s so unlike me to have leftover mac in the first place. A box of pasta, any pasta, is my typical serving size. But on this strange night sophomore year of college, I had a bowl waiting for me in the refrigerator after a late night out. Sounds appealing enough, right?

I was drunk. It was ready. It was immediate. It could have been so good.

It wasn’t.

Then, my usually trustworthy, rational, and full-of-good-ideas brain remembered my dad left a can of jalapeño cheddar cheese in a can after the Bills-Lions game the weekend before.

I put that realization to use in the hopes of remedying one of my biggest issues with reheating mac ‘n cheese: the cheesiness. Something terrible happens. What was once creamy and cheesy turns to slop in the cooling and heating process. Too greasy, not enough cheesy. All is lost.

But with this new jalapeño cheddar savior, I thought I had it all solved. Go ahead, Shan! Throw some cheese in a can on top of that Kraft. Everything should have gone well.

Given my physical and mental state, I assumed it would be a home run. But here’s the problem. While I had the sense to warm the mac n cheese, I was too hungry and drunk to think of heating up the cheese in a can. So there I had my hot, oily leftover noodles, topped with a cold glop of out-of-the-refrigerator jalapeño cheese in a can.

For those unfamiliar with the flavor/consistency of the canned cheese, imagine nacho cheese from a concession stand that has been infused with artificial jalapeño flavor and three times as many preservatives. Now cool it to a chilly 40-degrees, until it congeals and resembles moisturizing face cream.

I thought my drunk food savior was Kraft mixed with spicy, cold, cheesy jelly. I was all in. Then I took the first bite and my world collapsed. Only after I tried this sad excuse for something edible did I begin to question the idea, the execution, and my self-worth.

Then it got worse.

Because I didn’t stop after the first bite. I wish I could say I stopped after the second. Or third. It was absolutely disgusting, each bite getting worse and worse, and yet, I didn’t stop. I ate it through the tears. I wanted it to work so bad, but it just didn’t. And I couldn’t will it to work any better.

It just fucking sucked.

I don’t know how to describe how it was or what exactly made it so bad. The noodles were hot, slimy, and overcooked. The cold jelly cheese. The jalapeño flavor, while a temperature mind-fuck happened in my mouth. The residual oil from the powder Kraft “cheese.” It was all bad.

What kills me the most is:

  1. Thinking about all of the food that could have been. How I could have saved myself and the history of the world from this travesty if I just ordered Jimmy John’s instead.
  2. That I had leftover mac ‘n cheese to begin with? The fuck was I doing when I made it the first time? I set myself up for disaster when I didn’t finish the box.

The truth is that I should have known better. I should have done better. And while I hope no one can relate on a specific level (but if you have also tried this please contact me immediately as I still have hope and I believe we are soulmates), but I know drunk food stories like this are a dime a dozen. Everyone thinks they have a brilliant, game-changing idea when they’re clearly not thinking straight. That’s when disaster strikes.

But I’m here to give hope to those of you suffering. We all have our own small monstrosity(ies) of an experience, and that’s OK.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever whipped up, drunk or sober? Is it as bad as mine? Please share with me (the story, not the food) so I feel better about my food failure.

Shannon Vail

The number one authority on giant squids and can eat 6-14 boxes of pasta a day according to a recent Twitter poll.

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