Macaroni and cheese may easily be among the most comfortable foods ever. From toddlers and kids to teenagers and adults of all ages, no one can get enough of it. Mac and Cheese are just three simple words for a meal with an extremely complex history that has transformed it into a classic part of the American food scene since the Colonial era.
That said, the origins of this wonderful comfort dish goes back quite a lot. Do you want to know more about it, its origins, how it started? See what we have say about mac and cheese history.
The Origin of Mac and Cheese
The origins of Mac and Cheese are intricate and rely on the how cheese and macaroni came about in the first place to be reunited as mac & cheese later on. Well, macaroni is a form of pasta after all and so you may think it ends with Italy. If you think so, you’re wrong.
The actual origins of pasta date back hundreds if not thousands of years and there are a lot of myths surrounding them. Many sources place its origins back in the Etrusco-Roman noodles from the 1st century AD while Talmud, the central holy text of Rabbinic Judaism, traces pasta’s origins back to Palestine of the 3rd century AD.
The Transfer to Italy
Many studies and research papers credit the Arabian conquests of the upper Mediterranean basin for bringing pasta to Italy, specifically the 7th to 9th century campaigns to capture Sicily. The same studies also suggest that it was the North African Arabs in the 12th century who taught the Italians how to keep pasta preserved for travelling.
These conquests and campaigns are considered by many to be the most plausible explanation of pasta travelling towards the modern-day Italian mainland. However, according the Macaroni Journal, it was Marco Polo, the world-famous Venetian explorer who first discovered pasta in the Chinese Yuan Dynasty in the 13th century.
This explanation bears a lot of weight too since the Chinese have been consuming and possibly experimenting with noodles since almost 3,000 BC! Some of their noodles even date back almost an astounding 4,000 years.
It was these reasons why Idrisi, the Arab geographer in 1154, gave the first recorded description of pasta in the shape we see it today. Marco Polo only rediscovered something that was once present in the Italian peninsula.
History of Mac and Cheese in Modern Form
Liber de Coquina, the 14th-century Italian cookbook proved to be the first historical record that mentioned pasta and cheese casseroles. After that, an English cookbook called the Forme of Cury recorded pasta-cheese casserole as makerouns.
This dish was made using hand-cut, fresh pasta, sandwiched between cheese and butter. The Experienced English Housekeeper, a 1770-book from Elizabeth Raffald contains the first written recipe for modern-day macaroni and cheese. A later recipe from 1784 mentioned that the small macaroni tubes have to be boiled first, sifted and then transferred to a frying pan.
Recipe: Classic Mac & Cheese Casserole