|Photo from the website My recipes|
Plus, this dish is almost never considered an entree, rather a side dish that one chooses to replace vegetables. YES!
Now, I often said (for instance, here) that Italians are stupid to even refuse to taste certain food simply because it is not Italian or because it seems to go against every rule of Italian cuisine. And my position is exactly the same also on mac & cheese: this stuff is D E L I C I O U S.
The history of this dish is quite interesting. The first to import pasta making machines from Italy to the US was Thomas Jefferson at the beginning of the 19th century. Pasta had already appeared here and there, but it was only with the French fleeing the French revolution that pasta factories were then created. Although there are several "recipes" of what resembles mac & cheese popping out here and there, the original mac & cheese recipe is attributed to Mary Randolph, the author of the book The Virginia Housewife. Her brother was the son in law of Thomas Jefferson, so perhaps it is not by accident that she came up with what is considered the first REAL mac & cheese recipe:
Since then, mac & cheese has become first a Southerner typical dish, then an African American specialty, and finally a national obsession. Kraft introduced its mac & cheese in 1937, and its ubiquitous blue box is still the market leader. Kids grow up loving it, and I can't blame them.
Now, since I moved here I have been (eating and) experimenting a lot with mac & cheese. Recently I also organized a mac & cheese dinner, where guests were invited to bring their own versions of mac & cheese. If it is true that the original version only calls for pasta, butter, cheese, the variations are infinite: I have eaten mac & cheese with lobster, with burnt tips (a barbecue specialty), apples and walnuts, bacon, hot chiles, herbs...so the idea of the dinner was to see what people could come up with.
|The mac & cheese options at the Tuscan Foodie's house: a traditional one, one topped with fried onion rings, one with bacon and jalapenos, one with radicchio and one with walnuts and apples...|
I don't think anyone can accuse me of not doing enough to embrace the culture I am living in, right?