The history of macaroni and cheese is a fascinating one, evolving over the years into the iconic staple of American cuisine. Ever the francophile, this iconic dish was first introduced by Thomas Jefferson, after he was enamored by the dish during his trips to France. He brought back with him recipes and even made the effort to ship a pasta maker back to his estate in Virginia. In fact, it was an enslaved man by the name of James Hemings, who cultivated this dish under the guidance of French culinary chefs for the Jefferson household. Under Jefferson’s presidency, he famously had it prepared and served at the 1802 State Dinner. Up until the Great Depression, this dish was primarily enjoyed by wealthy elites of the era. It was during this era of hardships that a then little known company, Kraft Foods, would develop a boxed version that would allow struggling households to afford a boxed version, selling enough to serve four at 19 cents a box. In that year alone, Kraft Foods would sell 8 million boxes. This affordable and shelf stable food would go on to help families and soldiers during WWII. Today, macaroni and cheese is enjoyed in endless varieties among all communities in American society. Food is what brings us together and it's important to take time to pay homage to the history of how these iconic dishes came to be.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
16 oz of uncooked elbow macaroni noodles (3 cups)
8-10 oz Velveeta cheese, sliced
¾ cup whole milk
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 ½ cups panko crumbs
1 tsp coarse sea salt
Preheat oven to 350℉.
Follow package directions for preparing uncooked macaroni noodles on the stove-top. Once the noodles are done, preferably al dente, drain and set aside. Keep in mind that noodles will continue to cook while baking in the oven and no one likes mushy noodles.
Generously butter your favorite casserole pan. Evenly cube 1 block (8 oz) of Velveeta cheese for an even melt and mix. Heat a medium saucepan over medium to medium-low heat. Melt butter in saucepan (1-2 minutes), and slowly add milk, stirring continuously (2-3 minutes). Next, stir in cubes of Velveeta and continue to stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
Add cooked elbow macaroni noodles and salt to the mixture and stir, making sure that everything is evenly mixed. Transfer contents to the buttered casserole baking dish and spread evenly. Take our new signature sauce, Tannenbaum’s - Red Pepper, Lemon Peel & Smoked Paprika, and drizzle over the concoction. Sprinkle panko crumbs over the almost-ready-to-go bake and take a minute to admire how quickly and easily you whipped this together. Place the dish uncovered in the oven for 20 minutes or until the crumbs are golden brown. Serve for a tangy version of the ever so treasured American mac’n’cheese. Add extra cheese and Tannenbaum's for best results!
Stay hungry for more my friends! – Harvey Tannenbaum