Thursday, June 25, 2009
Mac 'n' cheese, 1823 fusion cuisine edition
The usual mode of dressing it in this country is by adding a white sauce, and Parmesan or Cheshire cheese, and burning it. But this makes a dish which is proverbially unwholesome: but its bad qualities arise from the oiled and burnt cheese, and the half-dressed flour and butter put in the white sauce.
Macaroni plain boiled, and some rich stock or portable soup added to it quite hot, will be found a delicious dish, and very wholesome. Or boil macaroni as directed in the receipt for the pudding, and serve it quite hot, in a deep tureen; and let each guest add grated Parmesan and cold butter, or oiled butter served hot, and it is excellent; this is the most common Italian mode of dressing it.
--English way of dressing Macaroni.
Put a quarter of a pound of macaroni into a stew-pan with a pint of milk, or broth, or water; let it boil gently till it is tender, and then put in an ounce of grated cheese, a bit of butter about as big as a walnut, more or less, as your cheese is fat or poor, and a tea-spoonful of salt; mix it well together, and put it on a dish—and strew over it two ounces of grated Parmesan or Cheshire cheese—and give it a light brown in a Dutch oven.—Or put all the cheese into the macaroni, and put bread crumbs over the top.
--From A Modern System of Domestic Cookery--
Macaroni and cheese was considered "proverbially unwholesome"; kind of hard not to be if everyone was burning it. The dish seems to have been of Italian origin, originally dressed with butter and cheese. The English innovation was to make it in a rich cream sauce and brown the dish or cover it with bread crumbs.