Toma Nota

The History of Mac n Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese, contrary to what many restaurants want you believe, is not an original Italian dish. It originated as a dish in America during WWII with the advent of boxed “mac n cheese” that became very popular among children. When products like cheese became more difficult to obtain due to war shortages, food companies began to create easy alternatives to full family meals. This is the same era that allowed for the development of SPAM as a in-home dining delicacy (thankfully this fad has passed on).

Nevertheless, in the past 70 years since boxed “mac n cheese” was released to the general public, and remains popular around the world, chefs and recipe makers around the world have worked hard to combine the gooey boxed concept with a truly authentic Italian dish, pasta in a béchamel sauce. Béchamel is a light cream sauce made simply with butter, milk (or cream), and flour or another thickening agent, and forms one of the five key sauces that established chefs must know.

Now that real cheese is no longer a limited commodity in the global marketplace, chefs in restaurants and at home alike can make home made macaroni pasta in a cheese sauce from scratch in about 30 minutes. A myriad of great recipes are out there, just remember to choose a pasta shape that catches the sauce in its nooks and crannies, and to use a mix of cheeses, usually containing a couple of the following: a Cheddar base with Parmesan, Gruyere, Fontina, among others. Buon appetito!