American Staple Dish: Mac’n’Cheese

Origins of Macaroni and Cheese

It is said that the origin of Macaroni and Cheese date back as far as the 13th and 14th century. The cookbook “Liber de Coquina” which was written by an unknown Neapolitan woman, contains a dish called “de lasanis” which, although it does not use the Macaroni pasta, is the first recipe to marry pasta with cheese. Several centuries later, the first recipe combining Macaroni and Cheese as the two main ingredients was called “The Experienced English Housekeeper” and was published in 1769.

Crossing the Pond

When Thomas Jefferson left Paris during the French Revolution in 1789 he brought back many novelties and curiosities such as four waffle irons and several noodle recipes. However, he was so smitten by the fashionable pasta dish that he served it during a state dinner in 1802.

Becoming a Staple Dish in American Homes

Yet, the dish´s breakthrough was not until the food manufacturer “Kraft Foods” introduced Macaroni and Cheese in 1937 as a ready-made meal. This product could serve a four-headed family for 19 cents which was ideal during the hard times of the Great Depression. The company was able to sell 8 million boxes of its quick-and-easy Macaroni and Cheese in the first year they launched the product. Due to the rationing and shortage of goods, such as meat and dairy, during World War II, the boxed mix continued to gain popularity. Nowadays, it is a standard incarnation dish at Thanksgiving and to college students.


Recipe
Ingredients
  • 250 grams of Macaroni
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1/4 of a teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/4 of a teaspoon of white pepper
  • 250 grams of evaporated milk
  • 60 milliliters of whole milk
  • 60 grams of butter
  • 150 grams of Cheddar Cheese
  • 150 grams of Colby Jack
  • 250 grams of cubed Velveeta
  • 150 grams of Cheddar Cheese for the topping
Preparation

Start by cooking the Macaroni according to the package instructions and add a tablespoon of salt to the boiling water. Drain the noodles in a strainer and run cold water over them for a few minutes to cool. In another pot combine the cubed Velveeta, Cheddar Cheese, Colby Jack, butter, whole milk, evaporated milk, white and black pepper. Cook on medium heat until a homogenous sauce is formed. Combine the macaroni and cheese sauce in a casserole dish and cover it with Cheddar Cheese. Bake at 200°C for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and light brown.

 

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