This article was written by Samuel Phineas Upham
Starting in 1937, when the Kraft Foods Company first put noodles and cheese powder into a box, kids and adults have been in love with macaroni and cheese. The pasta in the dish gives little doubt at the origins, we know the Italians loved pasta although they were not the first to use it, but the emigration to America is an interesting tale of cross culture influences.
A cook book dated back to the mid 1200s may provide some evidence of what the first plate of macaroni and cheese looked like. The book was called Liber de coquina and it was something of a cookbook written by someone familiar with the Neapolitan court at the time. The book has a recipe called de lasanis, which used lasagna sheets cut into two-inch squares. The pasta squares were cooked in water, then tossed with Parmesan cheese, and layered with powdered spices.
Settlers in southeastern Connecticut used to prepare a meal for church that they called “macaroni pudding.” It was a casserole of pasta and cheese, and guests were served plates of it after service was concluded. Still, a more curious tale exists.
Legend has it that Thomas Jefferson was so in love with the Italian comfort food that he boasted about it back in America. It was his daughter, taking the position of hostess after the death of her mother, who is credited with creating the American variant. She used Parmesan and elbow macaroni, but the recipe eventually replaced Parmesan with cheddar cheese. Today, we use cheese sauces and blends of cheeses to get the right flavor.
About the Author: Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Samuel Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Samuel Phineas Upham on his Twitter page.