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Pumpkin Spice Kraft Dinner
Photograph: JP Karwacki

I tried Kraft Dinner's pumpkin spice mac and cheese and prayed for death

Some things should stay sacred.

JP Karwacki
Written by
JP Karwacki

Despite immediate reactions online from people thinking they were being trolled, it's true: Back in September this year, Kraft Heinz announced that 1,000 "lucky" Canadians would be the recipient of a limited-edition release that would include a box of KD, a plastic fork, a mock Starbucks cup, and pumpkin spice boost pack.

I was one of those "lucky" recipients, and seeing as it's technically still fall until December 21, I figured it was better late than never to donate my body to science.

Pumpkin spice Kraft Dinner
Photograph: JP Karwacki

The process:

When the box arrived, I'd totally forgotten I had ordered it in the first place. All the bells and whistles were included in the box, plus some blue and yellow confetti to congratulate me.

The instructions seemed simple enough: Make Kraft Dinner as I normally would, mix in the pumpkin spice flavour pack (a white powder that looked like instant bechamel that smelled sweet), sprinkle some cinnamon on top, and post a reaction on social media.

Pumpkin spice Kraft Dinner
Photograph: JP Karwacki

For the record, everyone has their little tweaks to making Kraft Dinner in Canada: Some like to use the pasta water to create the original packet's cheese sauce, some use milk or cream; I've some ambitious stoner-type friends who like to add a few spoonfuls of cream cheese and swear by it. Personally, I simply use butter and a bit of pasta water.

My cup didn't come with my name misprinted on it as promised, so I took the liberty of doing it myself:

Pumpkin spice Kraft Dinner
Photograph: JP KarwackiSomeone had to do it.

The thing is, the instructions for pumpkin spice Kraft Dinner might have been a bit too simplistic. The second step of simply mixing in the flavor packet was a cruel, cruel thing that lacked exactitude. I threw in the whole packet, mixed it together, loaded it into the coffee cup, sprinkled on cinnamon and braced for impact.

Pumpkin spice Kraft Dinner
Photograph: JP KarwackiWhat have I done

The result: 

Just... no.

No, no, no.

It tasted like someone pranked me by dumping sugar in my dinner.

It tasted like Candy Land terrorists struck a cheddar factory.

It tasted like the R&D team at Kraft Heinz had been snorting booster packs when they came up with this.

I can't remember ever taking a bite of something and immediately wanting it to be over.

I'm not being melodramatic here either: I subjected two more people—people who love getting their seasonal trips to "Starbay's" on to mainline PSL—as a control for the taste test. They immediately did two things: Demand somewhere to spit it out and reprimand me. One of those two people was my fiancée. The wedding is still on. Kraft isn't invited.

It was cloyingly sweet and answered a question no one asked. Even if Kraft had recommended I only use one or two teaspoons, I don't think it would have helped such an ungodly creation. I saw that Dan Clapson, the creative director of Eat North, had gotten a little more scientific (and more measured in his response) with a box of his own by only adding some of the "flavor boost" but was also disappointed.

Some things should never be tampered with: Kraft Dinner is one of them.

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