Monday, February 8, 2010

Founding Father of Macaroni & Cheese KFMUBA37C6DG

Of the endless list of achievements that can be credited to Thomas Jefferson, one of the most significant forces in American history, could our beloved potluck favorite, macaroni and cheese, be traced back to him as well?

"Many historians credit Thomas Jefferson, who, in addition to possessing a keen culinary curiosity, brought a pasta mold home to Monticello after traveling to Europe. A version of the unctuous stuff was purportedly served at a state dinner at the White House in 1802." (taken from Across Atlanta)

Apparently, we can add Culinary Cultural Instigator to his long list of titles which include: founding father of our nation, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, first Secretary of State and Vice President and third President of the United States. 

But it was the cookbook "The Virginia Housewife" (1892) by Mary Randolph (Thomas' cousin) also considered the Martha Stewart of the day, that popularized and made macaroni and cheese a mainstream meal for the New World. It only took a generation before Kraft invented an instant, stove-top version of the beloved baked casserole dish (1937), which firmly cemented our affection for the gooey cheesey stuff... the rest is cheese history.

Traditional Baked Macaroni & Cheese Recipe (taken from 


  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups grated sharp cheese, divided
  • salt


Preheat oven to 350°. Cook macaroni in boiling salted water according to package directions; drain well and set aside. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Blend in flour, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly. Gradually stir in milk and half-and-half. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add paprika, pepper, and 2 cups of the cheese; stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Combine sauce with the macaroni and add salt to taste. Place in a buttered 1 1/2-quart casserole dish. Garnish top with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and dot with additional butter. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.

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