Macaroni and cheese is everything we could want: hot, melted cheese blended in creamy harmony with pasta, one of our all-time favorite comfort foods. Whether your favorite version is classic, jazzed up or lobstered, it’s hard to get enough. But who was responsible for making it popular, anyway?
Thomas Jefferson was an American founding father, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and the third president of the United States. But one could argue his greatest achievement was helping to popularize macaroni and cheese in the U.S.
After encountering macaroni in France and northern Italy in the late 1700s, Jefferson arranged for a special macaroni extruder to be shipped to his home in Virginia, where he served macaroni to guests at presidential dinners, putting the noodle in the spotlight. There even exists a recipe for macaroni noodles written in Jefferson’s own handwriting.
In honor of this important contribution to American cuisine, let’s make some of our favorite recipes for the dish. We’ve got 38 variations, including some for vegans.