You might call Mac and Cheese a classic and simple dish. After all its just macaroni and cheese, right? Wrong! There are thousands of recipes online, and it’s a favorite amongst Americans and Canadians. Are you craving some good ol’ Mac and Cheese? Then let’s take a look at 10 Mac and Cheese Facts You Would Never Expect!
10. Cheddar Is The Way To Go
There are plenty of variations of macaroni and cheese involving all the different types of cheeses. With over 2000 types of cheese in the world, this cheesy dish has been made with multiple different offerings! But of all the different kinds of cheese you can find, cheddar is the classic way of making Mac and Cheese and apparently the best tasting. Runner ups to cheddar cheese include gruyère, Gouda, Havarti, and parmesan cheese. If you get the boxed packages, you will get your cheddar cheese in a powder that you stir into your sauce, but if you make it the old fashioned way using a home made recipe, you can choose anything from an extra sharp to mild or white cheddar cheese. But why cheddar? Because of how it melts, the texture, and of course, the taste! The sharper or more aged the cheddar is means it will have less moisture and will not melt as quickly. If you go for something milder, it will melt much easier so you can then add it to make a perfect cheesy sauce while balancing the flavors!
9. It Is a Canadian Staple
In Canada, Mac and Cheese is a popular dish. You could say Mac and Cheese is loved almost as much as poutine. Both foods are classics and a staple in the Canadian diet. They have made Kraft macaroni and cheese the de facto national dish of the country! You can probably find a box of Kraft Mac and Cheese in almost every home, especially since it is the number one grocery item purchased by Canadians. Yes, they love it that much! But our neighbours to the north have a different name for Kraft Mac and Cheese, in Canada they call it Kraft Dinner or KD. Not only do they pronounce and spell certain words differently, but they also changed the name of Kraft’s Mac and Cheese! In fact, they love it so much that they eat 55 percent more of this cheesy macaroni than Americans do! That’s an average of at least 3 boxes consumed by every Canadian annually. Many Canadians grew up eating this stuff, and it’s not only a childhood memory but also a common lunch or even supper meal. There was even a song by the Canadian band, The Bare Naked Ladies, who sang about their love for Kraft Dinner. This is the same band who sing the Big Bang Theory theme song. The lyrics went “If I had a million dollars, we wouldn’t have to eat Kraft Dinner, but we would eat Kraft Dinner, of course, we would, we’d just eat more”. Canadians are very passionate about KD to say the least!
8. Mac and Cheese With Ketchup
This was the way to eat Mac and Cheese in the 90s up in Canada. Since then the trend has not died down, and to this day those Canucks love to drizzle their macaroni and cheese with ketchup. Why ketchup? Well, it seems to go with everything. Not only Canadians, but Americans also like to put ketchup on everything – from eggs to fries. To Canadians it’s the same concept as putting ketchup on your grilled cheese, and maybe that’s where the idea came from. Apparently, cheese pairs well with ketchup and there are so many different cheesy foods to put it on, like burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, and macaroni & cheese. But that’s not all that Mac and Cheese pairs well with… it is said that it also pairs well with Burgundy wine. Who’s willing to give that combo a try? And when it comes to ketchup, Canadians love it so much that ketchup chips are one of the more popular chip flavors!
7. Macaroni and Cheese and Crayola
You can color in your pasta bowl picture with the perfect shade of yellow using Crayola’s “Mac and Cheese” crayon. Apparently, the cheddar classic version of macaroni and cheese has a very specific color, and with fan requests, it got Crayola’s attention. In 1993, Crayola came out with a new shade of yellow for their crayon collection and named it after the cheesy dish! Crayola made the macaroni and cheese more of an orange hue to resemble the color of cheddar cheese, so if you want to color in a white cheddar pasta bowl, you might have to use some different colored crayons. Since this looks like a tasty color, and it reminds us of this popular dish, make sure you tell the kids this one is not for eating! Crayola renamed this crayon color five times. They started with the name macaroni and cheese followed by several different spellings, including replacing the word ‘and’ with the ‘and’ sign (the ampersand), the letter n and then a hyphen. Fifth time’s a charm because they changed it again to Mac & Cheese, with the ampersand, and this time it stayed.
6. Kraft Mac and Cheese Had a Really Great Start
Kraft Mac and Cheese started selling in 1937 during The Great Depression and had a lot of success. In that first year, they sold 9 million boxes and became very popular across America and Canada. They introduced the product with the slogan “make a meal for four in nine minutes”. People loved the convenience and how affordable it was. You could feed a family of four for 19 cents. It’s a meal that is filling, delicious and really easy to make very quickly. You could open a box and dinner was ready in nine minutes for the whole family! It was an innovative idea by a man who thought about packaging grated cheese with boxes of pasta. The idea was a hit and the packaged Mac and Cheese really took off. During World War II, Kraft’s macaroni and cheese saved the day by feeding the soldiers and providing families with food when there was a shortage of meat and dairy. During that time they sold 50 million boxes! Since then they have continued to grow in their success and Kraft now sells 1 million boxes daily and have increased their variety to over 40 styles of Mac and Cheese! You can find the flavor and type of macaroni that is just right for you. They have anything from the original known as “the cheesiest”, to extreme cheese explosion, organic white cheddar, cheesy spirals, alfredo, and more!
5. Making Mac & Cheese
Just like anything, there is a method to the madness. If you want to get the perfect bowl of macaroni and cheese with the pasta boiled just right and the cheesy greatness spread throughout, exploding with flavor, then there are steps to follow. If you’re thinking you just boil water, add the pasta, drain it and stir in the cheese to create greatness, we are sorry to say that’s not the way! There is even a WikiHow page with steps to making homemade, baked or Kraft’s Mac and Cheese. Making Kraft’s version is not as simple as the instructions on the box—WikiHow has a detailed way to make it perfect! They say that once you cook your pasta and drain it, you need to return it to the pot and add butter while stirring. Once the butter is completely melted and has coated all the macaroni pieces you add the cheese mix with the milk into the middle. From this cheesy center, you will want to work on mixing the ingredients together from the outside of the pot moving in towards the middle. Once it is all mixed in well and everything is engulfed in milky cheesy greatness – then now it’s ready! Next time it’s your turn to make the Mac and Cheese you will have this tip up your sleeve to impress your friends or family. You can also get crafty and make your own from scratch on the stovetop or baked. Of course, WikiHow has a full step by step outline of how to make your homemade Mac and Cheese just right!
4. Mac And Cheese Is A Source Of Protein
You heard that right! An average serving of macaroni and cheese provides sixteen percent of the daily recommendation of protein for an adult. It’s not only providing protein but is also a good source of copper, manganese, and selenium. As a source of protein, there are many vegetarians who opt for this cheesy pasta dish as a meal to get their protein and more. I guess you could have Mac and Cheese for a good Meatless Monday option with your veggies on the side. Of course, the amount of protein varies on the serving size and the type you have. The homemade recipes tend to have more protein than the boxed ones with powdered cheese. You can also up the protein amount if you opt for veggie or high protein pasta. This is not to say that the cheesy pasta is the healthiest option, as it is high in calories and fat, but if you are looking to add weight mass this could be part of the meal plan! If you make a batch and can’t finish it all, you can save the extra in the fridge for 2-3 days. Actually, about one in ten bowls of the golden macaroni is eaten for breakfast! It seems as though many people like to eat it in the morning—after all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The dish is so versatile that it can be served warm or cold like a macaroni salad or can even include added meat or vegetables.
3. The First Mac and Cheese Recipe
The origin of the classic cheesy pasta dish is actually unknown. However, the first record of a written recipe was found in Southern Italy dating back to the 14th century. The recipe was discovered in an Italian cookbook called “Liber de Coquina”. The recipe calls for slicing lasagna noodles into small pieces, cooking it in boiling water and layering it with an abundance of cheese. The result of this recipe is a cheesy pasta that looks like a casserole. The lasagna bits are layered with cheese and melted butter to create this simple yet delicious masterpiece. We can all thank the pasta gurus in Italy for this one! Over time the recipe developed into macaroni and cheese without the casserole format, although you can find many versions of the recipe on the internet that include baking it into a casserole. There are entire cookbooks devoted to different ways of making this dish and a couple of restaurants have dedicated their entire menu to different ways of serving macaroni and cheese. Later in the 18th century, the president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, tried this dish while on a trip overseas. He loved it so much that he imported the pasta and cheese to serve at his state dinner. Thanks to Jefferson, Mac and Cheese made the first appearance in North America in 1802 and has been a legendary meal ever since.
2. The Most Popular Shape For Mac And Cheese
There are many different shapes of pasta that have been used to make and enjoy Mac and Cheese or really any type of cheesy pasta. By far the most popular shape is elbow pasta, which is the less fancy name for macaroni. This pasta is used for most dishes and is found in many of the boxed Mac and Cheese brands you can find on the shelf at the grocery store. But why elbow pasta? Well, it has that unique curved shape that holds the sauce very well. The more cheese it can hold, the better! Elbow pasta is a hardy pasta, making it perfect for Mac and Cheese, allowing you to cook the pasta to the perfect texture for it to then become coated with all that cheese! Did you know there’s a runner up to elbow pasta? The second most popular shape for Mac and Cheese is one you probably wouldn’t guess. It’s Sponge Bob Square Pants shaped pasta! We can thank Kraft for this one, they came out with this pasta shape in their boxed macaroni and cheese and it is a favorite! With Sponge Bob shapes for pasta who wouldn’t be excited. After all it’s a lot more fun to eat and just as tasty.
1. Oprah, Beloved and Macaroni And Cheese
Did you know that macaroni and cheese is the most popular recipe in the United States? It’s the number one recipe across the country and Oprah knows it! Oprah said she once binged on 30 pounds of Mac and Cheese after she found out that her movie Beloved didn’t do so well. Oprah starred in the feature film and not only was it a flop but it was beat out by Bride of Chucky at the box office. At the time, Oprah felt so depressed that she asked her chef to make her many people’s classic comfort food – Mac and Cheese. She didn’t stop eating macaroni and cheese until she consumed a whopping 30 pounds of it! She admitted that she was feeling depressed and who doesn’t want a little comfort food when feeling down? Mac and Cheese is definitely recognized as a warm comfort food. It’s actually so popular that Oprah probably isn’t the only to turn to this dish when feeling the blues or not. Every 3 months about one-third of the population in the US will eat it, that’s about 109 million people! Mac and Cheese is such a favorite amongst Americans and American children that July 14th is known as “National Mac and Cheese Day”. It seems that this popular dish helped Oprah get out of her funk, and Thomas Jefferson ate more than 30 pounds of this pasta monthly! He consumed approximately 50 pounds of Mac and Cheese in just one month! From presidents and celebrities to adults and kids, there is no denying that Mac and Cheese is one of the most popular dishes around.