Trader Joe’s Offers a New Way to Get Fat

Trader Joe's Mac & Cheese Bites

Trader Joe's Mac & Cheese Bites

I Paid: $3.49 for a 10-ounce box (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 3 stars

Marketing: 5 stars

Trader Joe's Mac & Cheese Bites are much like the newly returned Cheesy Bites pizza by Pizza Hut. Both companies are presenting overfed Americans with exactly what they don't need: a new way to eat carbs and molten cheese.

Morality aside, it's clearly a pretty good marketing gimmick. When we're not self-loathingly choking down diet shakes and Slim-Fast fare, we're "indulging" the "urge" for, well, food that's nutritionally lacking—a fact best symbolized by a big gooey pile of cheese somehow attached to bread, pasta, and/or meat.

Thus: Mac & Cheese Bites, which are greasy balls of cheesy pasta covered in mediocre breading that warm up in the oven (not microwave) in 20 to 25 minutes.

If you're in the mood for decent-quality mac ’n' cheese that you can pop in your mouth without a fork, serve at a party as a trashy appetizer, or put in a coffee mug and eat as a hangover breakfast on your morning commute, Mac & Cheese Bites are a perfectly acceptable option. But do you need to do any of those things, really?

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.