You may think of mac and cheese as an all-American comfort food, but its origins are a bit more European.
After a long trip to Northern Europe, third U.S. president Thomas Jefferson brought back what might be his greatest achievement (besides the Declaration of Independence of course.) According to the Smithsonian, Jefferson came across the delicious dish of macaroni and cheese in France. Originally it was comprised of pasta and Parmesan cheese, and Jefferson thought it was too good to leave there.
He purchased a pasta machine and toted it back to America along with some recipes he sampled there. His daughter, Mary Rudolph, was the head of the house when his wife died, and took over the macaroni-and-cheese-making duties, eventually replacing the Parmesan with cheddar cheese. At an 1802 state dinner, Jefferson served the cheesy dish to all of his guests. The rest is (literally) history.
After years of home cooks making mac and cheese, Kraft Foods unveiled its popular boxed macaroni in 1937 for just 19 cents - a bargain considering one box could feed 4 people.
Now, mac and cheese is considered one of America's favorite foods. It's a staple in southern meat-and-threes, but it's also been adopted by some of the country's top chefs using elevated ingredients like lobster, truffle and imported cheeses.
Our I Dream of Creamy variety. A sherry cream sauce is complimented by sweet peas and portabella mushrooms.
We're not in 1802 anymore. Long-gone is the single cheese mac. We've experimented with adding ingredients like mesquite-smoked chicken, habanero garlic sausage and even sherry, giving our mac and cheeses an elevated flavor while keeping that same classic feel.