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Old School Mac & Cheese

Part of our love for food is its history. We’re starting to explore the what, who, how and why of what we eat in the UK today.

Today: The history of Macaroni and Cheese.

Over the years, this classic comfort dish has developed to include extra characteristics like crunchy breadcrumbs, vegetables and pancetta. But where does it originate?

In Italy, of course. A recipe was found in a 14th century cookbook, Liber de Coquina. It is described as a dish consisting of pasta and parmesan cheese. In England a similar 14th century recipe was found in the Forme of Cury cookbook, where it lists a dish called “makerouns”, combining thin pastry dough, cheese and butter together.

Thanks to these recipes, pasta and cheese casseroles became increasingly popular all over Europe, especially in France, Italy and England. The earliest recipe which is closest to the macaroni cheese we know and love, is in Elizabeth Raffald’s book, The Experienced English Housekeeper, 1769. The recipe is for a Béchamel sauce made with cheddar cheese, as well as a topping of breadcrumbs and parmesan before baking the dish until bubbling.

So there you have it, a brief insight into the known history of macaroni and cheese!

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