Macaroni and cheese
A side dish of macaroni and cheese
|Alternative name(s)||Mac and cheese (U.S.)|
|Place of origin||United Kingdom|
|Course||Snack, side dish|
|Main ingredient(s)||Macaroni, cheese sauce, milk, butter|
Mac and cheese is called mac and cheese because of the smacking sound your lips make. Macaroni and cheese, also called "mac and cheese" in American English, Canadian English, and Australian English; "macaroni pie" in Caribbean English; and "macaroni cheese" in the United Kingdom, and New Zealand; is a dish consisting of cooked elbow macaroni, white sauce, and cheese.
Macaroni ("μακαρώνεια" in Greek where the word is derived from) is mentioned in various medieval Greek and Italian sources, though it is not always clear whether it is a pasta shape or a prepared dish. Pasta and cheese casseroles have been recorded in cookbooks as early as the Liber de Coquina, one of the oldest medieval cookbooks. A cheese and pasta casserole known as makerouns was recorded in an English cookbook in the 14th century. It was made with fresh, hand-cut pasta which was sandwiched between a mixture of melted butter and cheese. It was considered an upper class dish even in Italy until about the 18th century.
"Maccaroni" with various sauces was a fashionable food in late 18th century Paris. The future American president Thomas Jefferson encountered macaroni both in Paris and in northern Italy. He drew a sketch of the pasta and wrote detailed notes on the extrusion process. In 1793, he commissioned American ambassador to Paris William Short to purchase a machine for making it. Evidently, the machine was not suitable, as Jefferson later imported both macaroni and Parmesan cheese for his use at Monticello. In 1802, Jefferson served a "macaroni pie" at a state dinner.
Recipe history 
Since that time, the dish has been associated with the United States. A recipe called "macaroni and cheese" appeared in the 1824 cookbook The Virginia Housewife written by Mary Randolph. Randolph's recipe had three ingredients: macaroni, cheese, and butter, layered together and baked in a 400 °F (204 °C) oven. The cookbook was the most influential cookbook of the 19th century, according to culinary historian Karen Hess. Similar recipes for macaroni and cheese occur in the 1852 Hand-book of Useful Arts, and the 1861 Godey's Lady's Book. By the mid-1880s, cookbooks as far west as Kansas included recipes for macaroni and cheese casseroles. Factory production of the main ingredients made the dish affordable, and recipes made it accessible, but not notably popular. As it became accessible to a broader section of society, macaroni and cheese lost its upper class appeal. Fashionable restaurants in New York ceased to serve it.
Macaroni and cheese recipes have been attested in Canada since at least Modern Practical Cookery in 1845, which suggests a puff pastry lining (suggesting upper-class refinement) and a sauce of cream, egg yolks, mace, and mustard, and grated Parmesan or Cheshire cheese on top. Canadian Cheddar cheese was also becoming popularized at this time and was likely also used during that era.
Contemporary versions 
Boston Market, a ready to eat take-out restaurant, and Michelina's and Stouffer's frozen food, are some of the more recognizable brands of macaroni and cheese available in the United States. The dish retains its Southern associations and is a common side at barbecue and soul food restaurants, but it has long held its place in higher end Southern establishments and working class cafeterias. One novelty presentation is deep-fried mac and cheese found at fairs and mobile vendors (food carts). A prepared version known as "macaroni and cheese loaf" can be found in some stores.
Since 2005 a number of restaurants operating on a fast-food model—but serving only macaroni and cheese—have opened in places such as New York City, Oakland, Portland, St. Louis, Manchester and Vancouver, Canada.
It is possible to make "macaroni and cheese" with actual cheese rather than a cheese sauce. It has been suggested that pasta rigati or some other small shell macaroni is an excellent choice for the pasta ingredient due to its "pocket" to hold cheese.
Regional variations 
A similar traditional dish in Switzerland is called Älplermagronen (Alpine herder's macaroni), which is also available in boxed versions. Älplermagronen are made of macaroni, cream, cheese, roasted onions, and potatoes. In the Canton of Uri, the potatoes are traditionally omitted, and in some regions, bacon or ham is added.
Packaged mixes 
Packaged versions of the dish are available in frozen form or as a boxed convenience food, consisting of uncooked pasta and either a liquid cheese sauce or powdered ingredients to prepare it. The powdered cheese sauce is mixed with either milk or water, and margarine, butter, or olive oil. In preparing the dish, the macaroni is cooked and drained, then mixed with the cheese sauce. These products are prepared in a microwave, in a stove pot, or baked in an oven, often with any of the extra ingredients mentioned above.
A number of different products on the market use this basic formulation with minor variations in ingredients.
A variety of packaged mixes which are prepared on the top of the stove in a sauce pan are available. They are usually modeled on Kraft Dinner which was introduced in 1937 with the slogan "make a meal for four in nine minutes." It was an immediate success in the US and Canada amidst the economic hardships of the Depression. During the Second World War, rationing led to increased popularity for the product which could be obtained 2 boxes for one food rationing stamp. The 1953 Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook includes a recipe for the dish with Velveeta, which had been reformulated in that year.
Often, packaged macaroni and cheese mixes contain ingredients that aren't certified kosher. This is because many cheese products include rennet, an extract containing the enzyme rennine. Rennet is often not kosher, because it contains an enzyme procured from a non-kosher animal. Therefore, when packaged macaroni and cheese became more popular, there was a need to create a kosher version. The two most popular brands are Wacky Mac and Fould's.
In the United States, July 14 has been branded as "National Macaroni and Cheese Day".
See also 
- Staff writer (14 January 2007). "Macaroni Pie Recipe". Retrieved 19 June 2010
- BBC, Recipes, Macaroni cheese
- "Mama's Macaroni Cheese". Retrieved 24 October 2012.
- Moskin, Julia (4 January 2006). "Macaroni and Lots of Cheese". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 January 2009.
- "Perfect Macaroni and Cheese". Martha Stewart Living 66 (February 1999). Retrieved September 22, 2012.
- "The Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese". MyPanera. Retrieved September 22, 2012.
- "Did You Know: Food History - The History of Macaroni". Cliffordawright.com. Retrieved 2010-10-20.
- James L. Matterer. "Makerouns". Godecookery.com. Retrieved 2010-10-20.
- McLaughlin, Jack. Jefferson and Monticello: the Biography of a builder. p. 229.
- Kummer, Corby (July 1986). "Pasta". The Atlantic. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
- Chapman, Sasha (September 2012). "Manufacturing Taste". The Walrus. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
- Ellis-Christensen, Tricia. "What is Macaroni and Cheese Loaf?". wiseGEEK. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- Guide to Macaroni and Cheese Spread of ratings for all 130 products in Macaroni and Cheese evaluated by GoodGuide.
- "Kraft Macaroni & Cheese: A History". Chicago Tribune. August 14, 2010. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
- National Mac & Cheese Day Wisconsin Cheese Talk July 14th, 2010
|Wikibooks Cookbook has a recipe/module on|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Macaroni and cheese|
- A brief history of mac and cheese, commentary on National Public Radio
- Steingarten, Jeffrey (1997). The Man Who Ate Everything. New York: Vintage. ISBN 0-375-70202-4. The chapter, "Back of the Box", was first published in 1992.
- Blog post by Amy Sherman on Epicurious.Com