(WYTV) – Macaroni and cheese may be the ultimate comfort food and it goes back a long, long way.
Who came up with the idea to combine elbow macaroni with creamy cheese? An Italian cookbook from the 13th century includes a recipe that calls for a sheet of pasta cut into squares, cooked in water and tossed with parmesan.
Macaroni and cheese grew in popularity across Europe.
In colonial America, we had casserole dishes served at New England church suppers that looked like today’s mac and cheese.
Some historians say it was Thomas Jefferson who brought it to America. That’s debatable but he did help make it popular.
A White House cook, Mary Rudolph, included a macaroni recipe with parmesan cheese in her 1824 cookbook, “The Virginia Housewife.” But it was Kraft Foods with its Kraft macaroni and cheese dinner in 1937 that promoted what it boasted was a fast, filling and inexpensive way to feed your family.
Today, gourmet versions call for a variety of cheeses, including smoked gouda and goat cheese, with bacon, tomatoes, shallots and more.
Ah, but there’s been nothing like it for warmth and comfort over the past 800 years.