You can buy a box of low-fat macaroni and cheese made with powdered nonsense. I’m not worried if I’m using four different kinds of cheese and it’s high in fat. It’s real food. That’s what’s more important.Tom Colicchio
Macaroni has played a major role in the lives of so many people, from their first encounters with it as children served up as macaroni and cheese, with slices of hot dog or peas in it, to kindergarten when they started making macaroni art to take home to their parents. Pasta is delicious in all shapes and sizes, but there is something very special about that bent, elbow shape that brings so many people back to better days and fond memories of their childhoods.
Macaroni is just such an incredibly versatile little piece of pasta that it deserved its own celebration–and National Macaroni Day is it!
History of National Macaroni Day
So, a good place to start would be to trace back the history of this brave piece of pasta and the stellar role that it has played in the history of pasta. Made from durum wheat, macaroni is a small, curved tube of pasta that does not contain any eggs in its list of ingredients.
Although it might be hard to imagine, macaroni was not one of the first types of pasta to be invented. It’s probably a shame to burst that bubble!
In fact, there are tons of other forms of pasta and macaroni that most people are familiar with. Those little curved pieces that come in the blue box? Those are called elbow macaroni, but they aren’t the only kind there is! So now is the time to let everyone in on a little secret, and that secret is the origins of the word macaroni.
Makaroneia is the original form of the word, and it hails from the Medieval Greek.
But what does it mean? Well, most people (especially kids!) would agree that macaroni and cheese is a dish worth dying for, so is it at all surprising that the word Makaroneia means “dirge”, or specifically in the case of the pasta “funeral meal”? That makes so much sense!
Of course, macaroni isn’t just used in macaroni and cheese though. In fact, that’s a fairly recent expression of the dish. This elbow-shaped pasta is also used as the foundation of an American variety of goulash where it serves as the starch component of a heavily meat-laden dish. National Macaroni Day encourages people to explore all the possibilities held in this tiny tube of pasta!
Now, it’s time to celebrate National Macaroni Day!
How to Celebrate National Macaroni Day
Grab a box of Kraft Mac N Cheese
The best way to celebrate it is, in some people’s opinion, to head out and get that traditional blue box of macaroni and cheese that so many people enjoyed as a child. It’s hard to imagine that powdered cheese could be so delicious and tasty–but it certainly is. And this stuff is pretty easy to make. Just cook, add a bit of milk and butter, stir and enjoy!
Make a Pan of Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
After indulging in a box of nostalgia, it’s time to make that dish grow up a little bit! Making homemade macaroni and cheese is actually quite a bit easier than most people would think. Just take a bag of macaroni and boil up enough to serve the number of people who are eating. Then take four kinds of cheese and slowly melt them in a pot on the stove.
Start by putting a little milk in the bottom of the pan, and adding some flour to create a roux. Once it is bubbly and thick, then add Sharp Cheddar, Parmesan, Romano, and Mozzarella cheeses that have been grated ahead of time. Stir this until the cheese forms a saucy texture, add more milk and stir thoroughly to get the right consistency. Some people like to throw in a little bit of butter, salt and pepper for flavor.
Don’t be afraid to add some spices in there! Garlic and onion powder, a little Italian seasoning. But to truly make it a masterpiece, don’t forget to finish it off by taking the mixed noodles and cheese sauce, top it with bread crumbs and bake it in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees F until light brown. Absolutely delish!
Fun with Macaroni.
For those kids in the family (or kids at heart), enjoy making some jewelry out of macaroni. Start with uncooked macaroni or penne pasta. Begin by dying the pasta (in vinegar water and food coloring) or painting it in a variety of colors. Thread onto string or twine or embroidery floss. Make into necklaces or bracelets.
Or instead of making it into jewelry, glue the colored pieces of pasta onto construction paper to create fabulous works of art.
Use Macaroni in Other Creative Meals
For those who want to go beyond simple macaroni and cheese, consider going on other interesting culinary adventures. Macaroni is a super inexpensive way to bulk up meals, especially when trying to feed a crowd!
Try these recipe ideas made with macaroni:
- Chili with Macaroni. Chili is great on its own, but adding pasta gives it an interesting texture and flavor. Simply cook up a pot of chili, boil some macaroni noodles in a different pan, and add them in. It’s a delicious and filling way to feed a whole bunch of people.
- Macaroni Pizza. Cook up some mac and cheese for the “crust”. Press down in a circle on a pizza pan. Spread red sauce, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese over the top, then bake to perfection.
- Macaroni Salad. Don’t forget that a cold pasta salad in the summer can be super delicious! Simply cook up the dried macaroni. Rinse under cold water and drain. Then add mayonnaise, white vinegar, mustard diced red peppers, diced onion and diced celery. Add salt, pepper and possibly a bit of sugar to taste.