Rage… macaroni and cheese |  Press

Rage… macaroni and cheese | Press

Who Invented Macaroni and Cheese? Americans? Swiss? Italians? You might as well ask who was the first to milk the cow and grow the wheat! One thing is certain: Macaroni and cheese is inseparable from North American cuisine today.

Updated February 19th. 2019

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The New Palace on Avenue Bernard is full of children on weekdays. Macaroni and cheese, the kitchen prepares cauldron after cauldron to feed all those mouths small and large who appreciate the very creamy simplicity of the recipe. There are no fancy toppings, no baked cheese, just noodles and a gentle sauce. “At my request, we can add fried mushrooms or bacon,” admits Jacques Seguin, co-owner.

Our collective love for macaroni and cheese has spawned endless versions, like this week’s Mac N’ Cheese in Montreal. Do we really need Pulled Pork Pasta and Donuts, Buttered Chicken Pasta, and PB+J Pasta Sandwich (Peanut Butter and Jam)? “Of course, the goal of pasta week is to push the boundaries of what is possible,” confirms Pascal Salzmann, founder of the event, with a laugh. But in his street food truck, Le Cheese Truck, and in his restaurant on Monkland Avenue, Classics sell the most, and they remind him of his mother’s slow-cooked homemade béchamel sauce.

A bit of history

In the Swiss Alps, you can try Älplermagronen, shepherd’s pasta or mountain pasta with Gruyere cheese, served with caramelized onions and apple compote. There are also occasional pieces of bacon and potatoes.

Italy has an abundance of dishes containing pasta and cheese, be it the classic cacio e pepe, a rich four-cheese sauce, spaghetti carbonara, etc.

Culinary historians agree that it was Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, who was responsible for spreading the love of elbow baking throughout North America. Ambassador to France from 1785 to 1789, this Gourmet before his time, he fell in love with several culinary traditions of Europe.

Upon his return to American soil, Thomas Jefferson would have brought a pasta press from what is today Canton Ticino in Italian Switzerland. He is said to have served macaroni and cheese at the state meal in 1802. An early American recipe for this dish was included in Mary Randolph’s book. housewife from virginia (1824). It had three ingredients: pasta, cheese, butter.

Birth of an icon

When Kraft Dinner came out in 1937, macaroni and cheese became a true American…and Canadian classic. On this side of the border, we eat 55% more kraft dinners (3.2 boxes per year per inhabitant) than our neighbors to the south! Did you know that around 106 million packages of cheese powder and noodle servings are produced right here at the Kraft-Heinz Mont-Royal plant.

It wasn’t James Lewis Kraft who “invented” the Kraft Diner, but one of its vendors in St. Louis, Missouri. This man came up with the brilliant idea to tie a pack of processed cheese and a box of macaroni with a rubber band and convince his customers to sell the two together.

The world was in the midst of the Great Depression of the 1930s, a can of KD could feed a family of four for about $0.19 and keep in the pantry for 10 months, at a time when many homes did not yet have refrigerators.

An interesting fact that we learn from an article in a magazine Tea Walrus published in 2012: chemists have done everything to ensure that the taste of Kraft Dinner has remained unchanged for 75 years, but its composition has nevertheless changed dramatically. The first sauces contained only cheese and emulsifying salts. The need to produce a product at the lowest possible cost forces the industry to develop substitutes. On condition of anonymity, the scientist estimated the amount of cheese in the bag at about 29%. The rest: lots of whey, salt, flavors, starch, etc.

In the kitchen

In 2012, during a presentation at the Omnivore festival, Chef Geeta Seaton shared with New Palace the secret to her famous cheddar sauce, which she produced about 18 liters per week. It was Velveeta, secret! “An incredible emulsifier even in very small amounts,” one who is today director of the food and drink section at Crew Collective recently admitted to us. After that, behind a scoop of this industrial craft spread, there are cups and cups of “real” cheddar, “real” mozzarella, milk and cream. Seven years after this presentation, New Palace pasta is still popular and, we confirm, just as delicious, with a creamy sauce and noodles. there jagged.

New Palace pasta is a tribute to KD. “My goal was to create really tasty mac and cheese, and I didn’t mind using a commercial product like Velveeta,” says the chef, who put away the pans but whose recipe continues to delight young and old at the restaurant. a restaurant on avenue Bernard and its second address, avenue Papineau.