A panel of 1987 Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (Kraft Dinner for the Canuckleheads out there) cards featuring Eddie Murray and Dale Murphy. Mix the two up and you have Dale Murray and Eddie Murphy which would be almost as awesome as this panel. I ate about three tons of Mac & Cheese in 1987 chasing after these cards. My grandmother questioned me "Do you really like this stuff or do you just want the cards?". I assured her I luuuuurved Mac & Cheese and then didn't eat a bite of it for about 3 years after the cards stopped being printed on the box. Incidentally, I ate about 392 Domino's Pizzas in 1991. The 16 Dan McGwire cards was totally worth it. I have a pile of these panels lying around somewhere that I ripped off those old boxes in 1987. But not one of them had this:
THE FRONT OF THE BOX
I haven't seen the front of this box for a couple of decades. It seems kind of plain today but this was cutting edge graphic design back then. The FREE is as big as the Kraft logo! A couple of interesting things (to me at least) on the box:
The cooking directions on the old box fascinate me. They specifically say to add 1/4 cup Parkay Margarine. I have a box of 2009 vintage Mac & Cheese here and Kraft no longer requires Parkay (butter!) for their dinners. The 2009 version is also heavily illustrated with fun cartoons instead of the wall of text. The other big difference in the preparation instructions is the including of microwave directions for cooking the macaroni. Microwaves were a big deal back then, I remember my grandparents treating theirs like a mini fusion reactor. Don't stand in front of it! You'll get the Cancer! Nowadays if you want to cook Mac & Cheese in the microwave you get Easy Mac. There's even microwave reheating instructions on there. Add milk, cover with plastic wrap, microwave on medium, who does all that? Modern instructions: 1) take out of fridge 2) throw in microwave 3) press a button 4) eat 5) steps 2 and 3 are optional. The newfangled box has no microwave instructions but they do have directions for a light preparation to cut down on the salt and fat. Basically, use unsalted butter and skim milk. There's a nutrition comparison underneath the light preparation which brings us to...
The nutrition information on the old and new boxes are also mind blowing. First of all, this stuff is absolutely dreadful for you. Lots of fat and TONS of sodium. I didn't worry about that crap in1987. The serving size also jumped a bit over 20 years from 3/4ths of a cup on the old box to one cup on the new. I'm not sure why they did that because it makes the calories and the sodium and the fat look worse. It does bump up the fiber and the calcium percentages, although Vitamin A and Iron stay the same somehow. I have the whole wheat version of Mac & Cheese so there might be something different in the formula that accounts for that. The information on the side has also changed a lot in twenty years . Out: Thiamine, Riboflavin and Niacin. In: Calories from fat, Saturated Fat, Trans Fat, Dietary Fiber and Sugars. The ingredients list is odd in that over the years the macaroni ingredients got way more complicated while the cheese sauce mix got less complicated. It probably all has to do with obscure government labeling regulations, but the parentheses inside brackets inside parentheses in the ingredient list of the '87 era cheese mix amuses me. One thing hasn't changed though: both boxes has "The Cheesiest" on there somewhere.
Oh wait this blog is about baseball cards isn't it... Eddie Murray is one of the best switch hitters of all time along with Mickey and Chipper and has the sideburns to back it up. Dale Murphy will be elected to the Hall of Fame in about 15 years by the Veteran's Committee once they flood the hall with '70s and '80s stars as a backlash against all the inflated numbers of the past 15 years (in Murph's hall class: Steve Garvey, Bobby Grich and Rick Cerone). Both Dale and Eddie look very sad that their team logos were airbrushed off their respective headgear. Thanks to Duane who added this bit of history in a big trade for some Allen & Ginter cards.