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When Was Boxed Macaroni and Cheese Invented?

Macaroni and cheese more popularly known as mac and cheese in the US is a dish made with cooked macaroni pasta and a cheddar cheese sauce. Other components, such as breadcrumbs or meat, can be added to the recipe as well. While we are all familiar with this cheesy pasta dish, did you ever wonder when was the first box macaroni and cheese invented?

When America was in the midst of the Great Depression in 1937, Kraft Foods debuted boxed macaroni and cheese with the promise of feeding a family of four for 19 cents. In the first year, Kraft sold 8 million quick-and-easy macaroni and cheese boxes.

Who Introduced Mac and Cheese to the United States? 

While the actual history of macaroni and cheese is unknown. However, it is thought to have originated in Northern Europe, with the first known published recipe dating from 1769. 

After his vacation in Italy in 1769, former US president, Thomas Jefferson, and his slave James Hennings claimed to have returned to Virginia with the famous American macaroni and cheese recipe. He fell in love with the trendy pasta meals served in France while on vacation. Since this meal was unavailable in the Colonies. During a state dinner in 1802 as president, he served macaroni and cheese to his guests. (Source: The Smithsonian Magazine)

When was the First Mac and Cheese Recipe Recorded? 

The Liber de coquina or The Book of Cookery is an early 14th-century codex composed in Latin by an anonymous scribe linked with the Neapolitan court and has the oldest recognizable recipe for macaroni and cheese.

Flat slices of pasta are tossed or piled with grated cheese in this recipe termed de lasanis. A recipe can also be found in The Forme of Cury, the first existing English-language recipe document, created in 1390 by King Richard II’s master cooks.

Although Thomas Jefferson was widely credited with popularizing macaroni and cheese in the United States, the meal existed long before he did. His enslaved chef, James Hemings, was the one who actually prepared it. In Elizabeth Raffald’s 1769 cookbook, The Experienced English Housekeeper, a particular recipe for macaroni and cheese debuted, and numerous versions appeared in early American cookbooks. (Source: Guinness World Records)

How Big was The Biggest Mac and Cheese Dish Ever Created? 

It’s been a pillar of poor cuisine for years, noted for being something that can be tossed together quickly because most of the components can be found in a convenient little container. 

However, many have claimed to be obsessed with it in recent years. There are now entire restaurants dedicated to providing something formerly found in the dictionary with the words simple and ordinary.

Cabot Creamery Cooperative and Chef John Folse & Company in New Orleans created the world’s largest macaroni and cheese in 2010. According to Guinness World Records, it weighed about 2,469 pounds in total and required 575 pounds of cooked macaroni and 286 pounds of mixed cheese. (Source: Guinness World Records)

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