rebecca is a food critic now

I Made Drake’s Nasty Birthday Macaroni and Cheese

Yes, chef! Photo: YouTube

You cannot tell me that the macaroni and cheese description on Drake’s cursed birthday-party menu was either accurate or intentional. After Drake’s 34th trip around the Sun on October 23, a photo of his soirée dinner menu went viral for its, er … eclecticism. Besides the vibe being overall very My Super Sweet 16 catering (chicken bolognese and cucumber avocado rolls), an entry on the very bottom stood out: mac ’n’ cheese made with “sun dried tomato, caper, raisin, parsley.” This was obviously, probably, a typo. Right above the mac ’n’ cheese is a grilled cauliflower with the exact same description; this was probably just a copy-and-paste error. But that didn’t stop the internet from dunking on Drake’s mac, nor did it sate my curiosity: What would that even look like? Raisins in mac ‘n’ cheese? I put on my 2019 NBA Finals hat and Raptors shirt and got to work … in my parents’ Canadian kitchen.

Capers, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, and even raisins are not necessarily strangers to pasta; Marcella Hazan, pasta royalty if there were such a thing (is there such a thing?), herself has a recipe for pasta with sultana raisins and pine nuts. But in a creamy, gooey mac? It just does not compute. Like More Life, it’s just trying too many different things at once to really gel. But I was determined to make this as un-gross as possible. I’m currently in Drake’s beloved Toronto, so I opted for President’s Choice white cheddar mac ’n’ cheese as a nod to his roots. Canadians love boxed mac ’n’ cheese a disordinate amount. Kraft’s variant — known as Kraft Dinner or KD here — is a Canadian pantry staple on the level of flour and sugar. President’s Choice is the next most popular Canadian option: It’s the private-label brand for Loblaws, which owns Shopper’s Drug Mart, which famously made a cameo in Drake’s “Started From the Bottom” video (see below). This mac was going to have a lot going on, and the white cheddar would be more mellow/complementary than KD’s neon cheese. Also, PC uses shells, which would add a touch of class and hopefully cup the capers and raisins nicely.

Shopper’s Drug Mart. Photo: Drake/Vevo

I don’t know how I got it in my head that I needed to “plump the raisins,” but it was imperative that I “plump the raisins.” I felt like that scene in Schitt’s Creek where Moira and David are cooking and yelling about how they don’t know what “fold in the cheese” means; I put the nasty-ass sultanas in a saucepan, brought it to a boil, and immediately took it off the heat to let them “plump” for a few before draining. It smelled like burning rubber.

No Name brand is kind of a big deal in Canada. Photo: Rebecca Alter

I scoured the internet for photographic evidence of the mac ’n’ cheese at Drake’s birthday; if it really wasn’t a typo and he really did like his mac raisin-studded, I wanted an idea of what that looked like: Were they intact? Was it some sort of puréed raisin-caper sauce drizzled atop? Alas, my search came up empty. I didn’t want to fuck with the blender so they were going to have to be full-ass raisins. I threw them back into the saucepan with olive oil, capers, and a couple big glops of a sun-dried tomato pesto of indeterminate origin that I found unopened in the back of a cupboard. Mayhap it’s cheating to overwhelm and saucify the capers and raisins in a pre-pesto’d sun-dried tomato mixture, but I was getting into the mindset of a girl in a Drake song where cheating is just part of the drama.

You know what? Sure, who cares. Photo: Rebecca Alter

Once my all’ama6ixiana sauce was all a-sizzle, I defiled an otherwise perfectly gorgeous Le Creuset of mac ’n’ cheese with it. Mixing all of the ingredients together, it looked like a pasta salad for a potluck at the Church of Satan. It smelled deceptively amazing on account of the sun-dried tomato pesto. The last step was to give that parsley a rough chop and sprinkle it atop. Lipstick on a pig, as they say.

Before. Photo: Rebecca Alter
Ruined, just ruined. Photo: Rebecca Alter
Featuring parsley. Photo: Rebecca Alter

I took a big forkful, making sure no ingredient was left behind. I’ll say this about Drake’s Famous mac ’n’ cheese: There are lots of strong flavors at play. The white cheddar of the mac pairs nicely with the sun-dried tomatoes. But the parsley is surprisingly LOUD on the palette and the brininess of the capers and the sweet squishy raisins just. Don’t. Go. It’s too much at once. It’s like that AI-generated pic where you’re not sure what it is you’re looking at and your eyes can’t focus on any one thing and it gives you a sense of unease. Like that, but for food. I couldn’t feed it to the dogs because of the raisins, so I left it on the counter and thought that was the end of the story.

It wasn’t. My parents were home — they saw that clerical error of a recipe sitting out on the counter, and they ate it. And reader, they liked it. My dad called it “delish” and “way better” than just plain mac ’n’ cheese. My mom called it “amazing” and said “the raisins give it a nice sweetness.” I said I worried they had COVID because one of the symptoms is lack of taste. But no, they just like Drake all-around: his music, his Raptors, his dance moves, his Canadianness, his Jewishness, and apparently, his birthday mac ’n’ cheese.

Okay, am I a food INFLUENCER now? Photo: Rebecca Alter

So, there you have it: Drake’s alleged raisin-studded mac ’n’ cheese. Feed it to your parents, poison your own stomach, but don’t feed it to your dogs. It wasn’t worth learning how to make a TikTok for this.

I Made Drake’s Nasty Birthday Macaroni and Cheese