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Macaroni Cheese

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Macaroni Cheese
200px-Flickr stuart spivack 173603796--Macaroni and cheese
Macaroni Cheese
Known ingredients: Macaroni, Cheese
Type of food: Pasta
Macaroni ("Maccheroni" in Italian) is mentioned in various medieval 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.

Since that time, the dish has been associated with the United States and especially the American South.[citation needed] 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[citation needed]. 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 recepies 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.

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