People Are Weirdly Grossed Out by Video Revealing How Panera Makes Mac & Cheese

People have plenty of things to be upset about in 2019. Popeyes is still sold out of fried chicken sandwiches, some Taco Bell locations aren't selling beef, and we're not even going to get into many crises facing the country at the moment. But of all things, the way Panera Bread -- and other ubiquitous chains -- quickly prepare their food is not one of them. And yet...

A now-viral TikTok video recently "revealed" how Panera, the coffee, soup, and carb bomb purveyor, makes its macaroni and cheese is apparently -- and unwarrantedly -- disturbing eaters on Twitter. In the video, a Panera employee shows how they take a frozen portion-size bag of mac & cheese, heat it up in a bath of piping hot water, cut the bag open and pout out the cheesy contents, and plate it to be served. The mac & cheese, like tons of other fast and fast casual foods, is made elsewhere and reheated at the restaurant.

Hold up. You're telling me fast food restaurants don't make all their meals completely from scratch? Color me absolutely not shocked.

People could not fathom, however, that the restaurant chain makes the cheesy pasta this way, or that it charges upwards of $8 for a simple bowl of previously frozen food. 

Other mac & cheese eaters on Twitter, however, jumped to Panera's defense. After all, the method used to heat food at the chain is common at most fast food and fast casual establishments.

Panera responded to the bizarre controversy, telling CNN the "mac and cheese is made off-site with our proprietary recipe developed by our chefs and using our sourced ingredients that meet our standards for our clean menu offerings." Additionally, Panera also fired the employee who "exposed" the macaroni and cheese cooking method. 

Although many criticized Panera, it's important to note that Chipotle, Starbucks, Taco Bell, and Subway -- among other restaurants -- utilize this sous-vide method of cooking. How else can these chains serve food across thousands of establishments that taste virtually the same, and most importantly, can be prepared quickly?

If you're in the camp of feeling nauseated by the TikTok video, perhaps it's better to cook your own food. 

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Kat Thompson is a staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @katthompsonn