The Bizarrely Personal Information Written On The First Boxes Of Annie's Mac And Cheese

Hear that sound? It's the collective sigh of relief from parents everywhere as they spot a box of Annie's macaroni and cheese on the grocery shelf, its friendly bunny mascot winking at them from his cardboard perch. "Thank you," the parents whisper silently to the rabbit, "thank you for giving me something to cook for my kids' dinner tonight that won't take all my time, money, and sanity." The bunny smiles benevolently back at them, absolving them of any guilt they might have had for serving their children macaroni and cheese from a box.

You see, unlike some "krafty" alternatives, which are ultra-processed and come in colors you don't see too often in nature, Annie's products contain organic pasta, real cheese, and ... not much else (via Annie's). The company is owned by General Mills, and you can write to their consumer relations department in Berkeley, California, if walking around and thanking cartoon bunnies in your grocery store aisle isn't your jam. But according to SF Gate, had you been practicing gratitude in the 1990s, you could have called Annie herself up to thank her personally.

Annie is harder to find, but her love of mac and cheese remains

SF Gate explains that when Annie's launched its first product in 1989 (which, incidentally, was "Shells and White Cheddar," perhaps to distinguish the pasta-and-cheese-in-a-box from its neon orange competition), creator Annie Withey put her phone number on the back of every box of pasta. Withey's address in Connecticut became widespread as well, as she and her team employed guerrilla marketing techniques and personally delivered boxes of shells and cheddar to customers around the area. The local postman began to divert nosy fans, and — after a 3 a.m. phone call from some surfer dudes on the West Coast, looking for some righteous mac-and-chee — Withey's phone number eventually disappeared from the boxes.

Does she miss hearing from satisfied customers, though? In an email to SF Gate, Withey says, "I responded to thousands of letters, literally (I still have a callus on my finger from pen overuse!) and made the effort to answer all questions, offer advice and share some of my thoughts with the wonderful people who wrote to me." And while she claims to still eat a box or two of Annie's a month, Withey is harder to reach these days, having sold the company a long time ago. But Bernie, the bunny on the box who was named for her then-pet rabbit, is still all ears if you want to tell him thanks.