Who Invented Mac and Cheese?

The warm, gooey dish, a childhood staple across North America, is many things to many people: a mainstay of African-American Sunday dinners, according to soul food expert Adrian Miller; a comforting yet celebratory meal that can be jazzed up in dozens of ways, according to chef and former mac and cheese restaurant owner Allison Arevalo; and Canada's de facto national dish, according to journalist Sasha Chapman. So what do the Swiss Alps have to do with macaroni and cheese? Listen to this special sponsored episode for the story of where mac and cheese really came from and how it ended up in a little blue box. Plus, some tips for making the very best macaroni and cheese from scratch.

Episode Notes

Adrian Miller and Soul Food

Adrian Miller, soul food scholar, is the author of a number of books, including Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time.

Allison Arevalo and Pasta Friday

Chef Allison Arevalo was one of the founding owners of the Oakland mac and cheese restaurant Homeroom and co-author of The Mac and Cheese Cookbook. Currently, she hosts a weekly dinner called Pasta Friday and is putting the finishing touches to a cookbook of the same name.

Sasha Chapman

Canadian journalist Sasha Chapman wrote a 2012 article in The Walrus titled, "Manufacturing Taste: The (un)natural history of Kraft dinner—a dish that has shaped not only what we eat, but also who we are."

Paul Imhof

Paul Imhof is the author of a series of volumes funded by the Swiss government called The Culinary Heritage of Switzerland.

All Square

This is a special sponsored episode of Gastropod. It's brought to you by Undeniably Dairy, and it features All Square, a professional development institute and craft grilled cheese restaurant in Minneapolis, founded by Emily Hunt Turner to help formerly incarcerated individuals overcome the obstacles they face in becoming productive citizens.