Mental Floss

Dietribes: Macaroni & Cheese

Allison Keene
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"¢ Mac 'n Cheese is about as all-American as you can get (as far as warm, cheesy food goes). It was "invented" by one of our own Presidents "“ Thomas Jefferson "“ who had something akin to our modern-day Macaroni and Cheese while visiting France. When he returned to the US, he made a machine to produce his own version, and the rest is history.

"¢ L.J. Kraft obtained a patent in 1916 for a processed cheese that would not spoil. People weren't so keen on the idea, and Kraft ended up selling 6 million pounds of the powdered cheese to the US Army. Eventually, Americans came 'round, especially when Kraft rolled out its box of instant Mac 'n Cheese, which only cost one ration coupon in those frugal times of war.

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"¢ Vote with your dollars! Kraft created elephant-shaped "Republican" and donkey-shaped "Democrat" boxes for the 1996 Presidential conventions.

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"¢ For purists who desire nought but cheesy mac goodness, there is a restaurant in New York City called S'MAC that only serves Macaroni and Cheese.

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"¢ Crayola added to color "Macaroni and Cheese" to its 96-box of crayons in 1993, along with the colors Granny Smith Apple, Asparagus, Timber Wolf and Razzmatazz.

"¢ The history of the macaroni noodle itself is a slippery one, with credit being given to the Chinese, Greeks, Romans, even Marco Polo. A detailed account for those interested in the origins of the wheat and etymology of the word can be found here.

Care to share your secret recipes? And here's a question: Which do you prefer, mac from scratch or from a box?

[Previous Dietribes: Strawberries]

'Dietribes' appears every Wednesday. Food photos taken by Johanna Beyenbach. You might remember that name from our post about her colorful diet.

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