Is Mac and Cheese an American thing? Truth Unfolds

Mac and Cheese is a favorite dish for many Americans who enjoy its velvety texture and comfort-food flavor. But where did this dish originate from? Who invented it? What are the origins of this dish? These questions invite one to explore the history of macaroni and Cheese.

Mac and Cheese is a dish that has been popular for centuries. The first macaroni and cheese recipes were dated back to the late 13th century in Italy. Until the 1920s, pasta became widely available in America, leading to macaroni and Cheese becoming a mainstream food item.

Continue reading to unfold the beautiful evolution of American mac and Cheese in the following section below.

is mac and cheese an american thing

Is Mac and Cheese an American thing?

Mac and Cheese can be an American thing because it is a famous soul and comfort food among Americans even though its recipe was first recorded in Italy in the late 13th century.

The birth of Mac and Cheese happened in the late 13th century in Italy. Its first recipe was found in an Italian cookbook named Liber de Coquina, where its ingredients were pasta and Parmesan cheese.

Another cookbook from Medieval times of England named the Forme of Cury has its version of Mac and Cheese.

The recipe of Forme of Cury for Mac and Cheese resembles the preparation for lasagna, but the ingredients are handmade pasta, cheese, and butter.

Nowadays, we use cheddar cheese, milk, and macaroni as base ingredients for Mac and Cheese, which are all common in American stores.

How did mac and cheese become popular to Americans?

The popularity of Mac and Cheese among Americans started because of Thomas Jefferson’s cravings when he first tasted it in his visit to Italy.

thomas jefferson

When Thomas Jefferson returned to Virginia after his vacation, he asked his wife to cook the same dish he had in Italy.

However, when his wife died, his daughter, Mary Randolph, took charge of the household and continued to serve her father’s favorite food using the pasta maker his father bought from Italy.

Instead of using pasta and Parmesan cheese, she invented her version of it using macaroni and Parmesan cheese. Later on, she changed the Parmesan cheese into Cheddar cheese.

Thomas Jefferson loved the dish so much he often offered it to his guests during his presidency.

Mary Randolph did not make the dish with her own hands but rather told their enslaved cook named James Hemming to prepare it.

Even before James Hemming knew this dish, it had already become one of the favorite food of the Southern enslaved people because it’s easy to prepare and its ingredients are cheap and easy to find.

Since then, the recipe became known to more people, and its popularity spread like fire.

When did Mac and Cheese become popular in America?

Mac and Cheese became popular in America in 1937, the age of the Great Depression, because it’s cheap and easy to cook.

The Kraft foods company makes the most popular brand of instant mac and cheese of James L. Kraft.

At first, Kraft foods started by selling Cheese in their wooden wagon. From there, they step up their game by making their Cheese then creating their most famous product, the instant mac and Cheese.

Kraft’s Mac and Cheese are sold in boxes with powdered Cheese. It’s cheap and easy to prepare; thus, became a big hit among Americans during the trying times of the Great Depression.

Mac and Cheese have become part of every American life from then on.

Who popularized mac and cheese in the US?

Mac and cheese recipe was first introduced by Thomas Jefferson in America after his visit from Italy but became more in demand and famous during the Great Depression because of Kraft foods.

Since then, this food has become a famous recipe among American and African-American people.

Moreover, its meaningful purpose got served when the Great Depression set in.

Modern mac and Cheese using powdered Cheese by Kraft foods become their savior from hunger due to extreme poverty.

The beautiful story of mac and Cheese, from being one of the favorite comfort food to becoming their staple food in times of crisis, makes it a real “soul” food for every American to this date.

How would you describe mac and cheese?

Mac and Cheese is a famous American soul and comfort food. It’s soft, chewy, milky, cheesy, with the right amount of saltiness that makes you feel full, satisfied, and relaxed after eating.

There are different ways how to cook mac and Cheese. In addition, there are festivals dedicated to America’s best mac and cheese version, like Arlington, Texas; Louisville, Kentucky; Norfolk, Virginia. And Philadelphia.

Therefore, its taste may vary depending on who will cook it.

Some people like to add a spicy kick to their mac and Cheese. Others use different toppings, from the common bacon that we all love to the most expensive lobster meat you can find.

Many types of Cheese can also be used according to your preference. You can mix and match all the cheeses you love and make your version.

No matter how you prepare mac and Cheese, the bottom line is it still should be chewy, cheesy, and heartwarming.

What is the fancy way to describe mac and cheese?

The fancy way to describe mac and Cheese is that it’s a carbohydrate-loaded meal of aldente macaroni pasta mixed with shiny, creamy, salty, smooth, thick, and heavy cheese sauce.

Making a food name fancy is easy. All you have to do is describe its ingredients word per word and you’ll have your refined dining version of typical food we love, like mac and Cheese.


Mac and Cheese have become part of American lives since then.

The recipe traveled from Europe to America and made its way to our hearts, lives, cultures, and traditions.

The history of macaroni and cheese is not taken lightly because it has been around for centuries ago.

It had undergone many changes over time, but it still stood up to the changes in our society.

The dish will continue to evolve with each generation that creates its recipe. With that, it is clear that macaroni and cheese’s history will continue as chefs create their takes on this timeless recipe.

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